Election winners and losers
GO TO CommonWealth’s homepage for stories on the big races, including Maura Healey’s historic victory in the race for governor.
What else did we learn from Tuesday’s election about the big winners and losers?
SMASHING THE CEILING
Women were big winners in Massachusetts, as Healey led a statewide Democratic ticket to victory that will result in five of the state’s six constitutional offices being held by women. Joining Healey will be Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Andrea Campbell, who was elected attorney general, and Diana DiZoglio, who won the race for state auditor. State treasurer Deb Goldberg was reelected to a third term.
Trump Republicans were big losers in this election. Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl, who had been a leader in President Donald Trump’s Massachusetts campaign, lost in a landslide. Vocally pro-Trump Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson lost his seat after 25 years. And in nearby New Hampshire, Trump-backed Senate candidate Don Bolduc failed to unseat Democratic US Sen. Maggie Hassan, while former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt lost her race for US House to incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas. Nationally, results for Trump-backed candidates were mixed, but far from the “red wave” some had predicted. J.D. Vance won the Ohio Senate seat and Herschel Walker appeared poised to force a runoff for US Senate in Georgia, but Republican Mehmet Oz lost in the hotly contested Pennsylvania US Senate race to John Fetterman.
If it was a bad night in Massachusetts for the Trump brand of Republican politics, it wasn’t any better for Charlie Baker’s more moderate version of GOP politics. The only statewide candidate he endorsed, Anthony Amore, lost decisively in the race for the open state auditor’s seat. He barely outpaced Trump-aligned Diehl, suggesting Baker’s endorsement – and hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending on the race from a super PAC linked to the outgoing governor – did little to move the needle. Baker also endorsed Republican state Rep. Shawn Dooley, who was defeated for state Senate by incumbent Democrat Becca Rausch in the most closely watched legislative race of the night.
SPLIT VERDICT ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
It was a mixed night for criminal justice reformers in Massachusetts.
In a major victory for liberal-minded voters, Democratic Attleboro mayor and former state representative Paul Heroux unseated Republican Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson, who has held the office since May 1997. Hodgson has long been criticized for his harsh treatment of inmates, and he has also been a staunchly pro-Trump politician, even expressing willingness to send inmates to help build a border wall with Mexico.
Heroux pledged to create a modern, professional jail system with focus on rehabilitation and programming for inmates, and on preparing people to successfully return to the community.
With 79 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday morning, Heroux led by just one percentage point, but Hodgson conceded defeat.
Yet in Plymouth County, Democratic reformer Rahsaan Hall, a former civil rights lawyer focused on racial justice issues who worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and Lawyers for Civil Rights, fell far short in his bid to unseat Republican District Attorney Timothy Cruz. Cruz has been DA since 2001. With 80 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday morning, Cruz had 65 percent of the vote.
DC DELEGATION WINS – BUT COULD FACE BIG LOSS
It was a good – and probably bad – night for the state’s all-Democratic House delegation in Washington. All eight representatives cruised to reelection victories, but if forecasts hold up and Republicans retake the House – even if by a much narrower margin than many had predicted – they will all be stripped of the power they held in the Democratic-run chamber. The higher they ranked, the harder the fall, which means Katherine Clark could lose her status as assistant speaker, the fourth highest-ranking post in the House. A Republican takeover would also mean Richard Neal loses his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and Jim McGovern gets bounced from his post chairing the Rules Committee.
Despite nationwide concerns over election fraud, especially by Republican followers of former President Trump, the election in Massachusetts seemed to go relatively smoothly. Unlike during September’s primary, there were no reports of ballots locked in an unopenable safe. As of mid-day, Lawyers for Civil Rights reported a few minor issues coming through its election hotline – broken voting machines in Boston and New Bedford, reports of officials asking for identification in New Braintree and Boston, election protection volunteers being asked to leave polling sites, and some confusion about whether people who requested but did not return mail-in ballots could vote in person.
BRUCE MOHL, SHIRA SCHOENBERG, MICHAEL JONAS
NEW STORIES FROM COMMONWEALTH MAGAZINE
Clean sweep: Maura Healey led a Democratic sweep of the state’s constitutional offices, setting up Democratic control of the House, Senate, and executive branch. Healey is the first woman elected governor in Massachusetts and the first openly lesbian governor in the country. She topped a ticket that included the first Black woman (Andrea Campbell) elected to statewide office and two other newcomers, Sen. Diana DiZoglio as auditor and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll as lieutenant governor. Read more.
Too close to call: The fate of two of the four ballot questions remained uncertain Wednesday morning. Voters were saying yes to a millionaire tax, immigrant driver’s licenses, and new rules on dental insurance payments, but the first two were too close to call. A question upping the number of beer and wine licenses a company could hold was defeated. Read more.
Rausch victorious: Democratic state Sen. Becca Rausch of Needham fended off a challenge from Republican state Rep. Shawn Dooley in what appeared to be the most hard-fought and expensive legislative race in the state. The two candidates spent a total of $600,000 on their campaigns, and super PACs weighed in on both sides – teachers and unions on Rausch’s side and a PAC linked to Gov. Charlie Baker on Dooley’s side. Read more.
Build back better: Former state transportation secretary Fred Salvucci and Anthony D’Isidoro of the Allston Civic Association wrap up their three-part series on the effort to improve mobility and repair the damage caused by construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Read more.
STORIES FROM ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB
A Globe editorial urges incoming Gov. Maura Healey to go bold in office, and outlines several areas in need of more than incremental change.
Boston will pay $2.1 million in legal fees for plaintiffs in a case brought by a group that was denied permission to fly a Christian flag on City Hall Plaza. In May, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the city should have let the flag fly. (Boston Herald)
Democrats defy expectations and hold off a “red wave” from washing over the midterm election, with control of the House and Senate still hanging in the balance Wednesday morning. (New York Times)
Democrat Paul Heroux unseated Republican Tom Hodgson in the Bristol County sheriff’s race, ousting an incumbent who has held the office since May 1997 and has been criticized for his harsh treatment of inmates and his pro-Trump views. (Standard-Times)
At least 109 state House seats and 18 Senate seats were uncontested in the general election. (Gloucester Daily Times) Most legislative incumbents who faced challenges won reelection, including Senators Barry Finegold and Joan Lovely (Salem News), Worcester Democratic Rep. David LeBoeuf and Shrewsbury Republican Rep. Hannah Kane (Telegram & Gazette), and Sens. Jamie Eldridge and Anne Gobi (Telegram & Gazette). Democratic State Sen. John Velis of Westfield has not yet declared victory, although he is leading his Republican challenger. (MassLive) Rep. Paul Mark of Peru won the Senate seat from the Berkshires. (Berkshire Eagle)
Democrat Dawne Shand will join the House from Newburyport, flipping party control of the seat formerly held by Republican James Kelcourse, who resigned to join the Parole Board (The Daily News). Cape Cod Democrat Christopher Flanagan wins the First Barnstable seat vacated by Republican Rep. Timothy Whelan. (Patch)
Other new legislators include: Democrat Adrianne Ramos will join the House from North Andover, beating Republican Joe Finn to win the open 14th Essex seat (Eagle-Tribune); Democrat Robyn Kennedy will succeed retiring Democratic Senator Harriette Chandler in the 1st Worcester District (Telegram & Gazette); Belchertown Democrat Aaron Saunders will join the House, replacing Democrat Jake Oliveira, who will replace Democrat Eric Lesser in the state Senate (MassLive); Chicopee Democrat Shirley Arriaga will become the first woman and first Latina to represent the 8th Hampden District, a seat Rep. Joseph Wagner held for 32 years. (MassLive) Democrat James Arena-Derosa of Holliston wins an open House seat. (MetroWest Daily News)
The Telegram & Gazette looks at the ways in which basketball and environmental activism shaped the views of governor-elect Maura Healey.
Vermonters vote to protect abortion rights in the state constitution. (NPR)BUSINESS/ECONOMY
An initiative sponsored by Camp Harbor View that is giving lower-income Black and Hispanic families $583 per month with no strings attached is helping them meet expenses, pay down debts, and experience less stress and better mental health. (Boston Globe)