Who were the winners and losers (besides the candidates)?
Who won and who lost yesterday? Of course, there are the candidates who put themselves and their ideas out there for voters. They all were winners for democracy, though the hard reality of election results will brand some winners and others losers. But beyond the candidates, every election brings another set of winners and losers. These are the people whose actions in the run-up to the election meant they, too, had a lot riding on its outcome. Here’s a quick look at some winners and losers whose names weren’t on any ballot.
After the results reporting debacle in the Boston mayoral preliminary, activists decided to take matters into their own hands. Enter Matt McCloskey from West Roxbury, who lined up volunteers to report results from every precinct in the city and organized them into a Google Sheet. The Open Elections Results Portal left the Associated Press in the dust, with precinct-level results posted and updated continually starting soon after polls closed at 8 pm. It also enabled others like The MassINC Polling Group and Rivera Consulting to build maps and models, respectively, off the data.
Early passengers on the Wu train must be blowing its whistle today, including City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, and state Reps. Aaron Michlewitz and Mike Moran. Now Michlewitz and Moran have the harder task of negotiating Wu’s agenda, much of which requires sign-off from Beacon Hill.
Thomas McGee opted not to seek reelection as mayor in Lynn — but he backed the winning candidate to take his spot, Jared Nicholson.
Diversity. On a night that saw historic gains for people of color nationwide, Asian-American Michelle Wu became Boston’s first non-white elected mayor. Holyoke got its first Latino mayor in Joshua Garcia, Northampton elected an African-American woman and man to City Council while Delmarina Lopez became the first person of color to sit on the Chicopee City Council. Worcester city councilor-elect Thu Nguyen, who is of Vietnamese descent, became the first non-binary person ever elected in Massachusetts. In its first election since changing the voting system in response to a lawsuit by minority groups, Lowell elected six people of color to the school committee and city council.
Rivera Consulting. Boston finally got a taste of what a campaign’s internal vote tally looks like, with a nifty (and public) tracker from the wizards at the Boston-based political consulting firm. Far from relying on raw vote counts without context, the spreadsheet showed what Wu and Essaibi George would need in each precinct to remain competitive based on where they were expected to do well. National elections have had this for a while. This was a first for Boston.
Pollsters. Four polls, including one from MassINC Polling Group, were released after the Boston mayoral preliminary election, showing winning margins for Michelle Wu of between 25 and 32 points. With the Boston Elections Department showing an unofficial margin of 28 points, the polls were right on (if we do say so ourselves). They also showed the shape of Wu’s coalition, and brought early attention to ways Boston’s politics had changed, well before votes were cast.
Former mayor Ray Flynn can pop the champagne, Miami Dolphins-style, because he retains the record for the highest vote total in a modern Boston mayoral election (“modern” meaning after the city’s population cratered in the 1960s and 70s). As Ari Ofsevit points out on Twitter, Wu’s 91,000 votes is the most since Flynn racked up nearly 130,000 in 1983.
Gov. Charlie Baker wasn’t exactly a winner or a loser, landing somewhere in between. He raises most of the money for the Massachusetts Majority super PAC, which spent nearly $260,000 on candidates in 19 municipal races, according to its latest report. Of the 19, 13 won and six lost. Two of the losers were former or current Republican legislators running for mayoral positions — Donald Humason in Westfield and James Kelcourse in Amesbury
The two similar sounding super PACs that dumped nearly $2 million into the Boston mayor’s race on behalf of Annissa Essaibi George, with a chunk of it devoted to unfounded attacks on Michelle Wu. The biggest losers: New Balance’s Jim Davis, who poured more than $1 million into the losing cause, and former Boston police commissioner William Gross, the face of the effort in TV and newspaper ads.
The Associated Press: Their election night vote count in the Boston mayor’s race lagged so far behind as to be irrelevant. The crowd-sourced count was the one drawing attention from election night watchers. The campaigns also had data well ahead of the AP, conceding defeat and declaring victory well ahead of the AP’s official declaration.
Former mayor Marty Walsh. Walsh famously stepped on Michelle Wu’s campaign announcement last year before being tapped to serve in the Biden cabinet. Wu might have gotten a measure of payback by winning Walsh’s home precinct in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester. Walsh did not endorse either candidate in the race, but fellow Dorchester resident Annissa Essaibi George was widely seen as closer to the Walsh orbit, and Walsh’s mother appeared with Essaibi George at her Savin HIll polling place yesterday.
“We have real serious concerns about Michelle Wu,” Michael Ross, a former Boston city councilor now practicing real estate law, told Globe columnist Shirley Leung before the September preliminary, giving voice to a view among some business types that Wu would crush the city’s development boom. The mayor-elect may have serious concerns now about any projects Ross is trying to fast-track through City Hall.
Rev. Eugene Rivers lobbed a last-minute grenade at Michelle Wu, issuing a press release over the weekend leveling a wildly untethered charge of racially discriminatory lending practices against Wu’s husband, whose name he misspelled, and the bank where he works, and demanding that Wu denounce the practice or withdraw from the race.
SHIRA SCHOENBERG, BRUCE MOHL AND MICHAEL JONAS OF COMMONWEALTH AND STEVE KOCZELA AND RICH PARR OF THE MASSINC POLLING GROUP
Big change: Michelle Wu cruised to an easy victory, becoming the first woman and the first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston. The 26-point margin of victory over Annissa Essaibi George broke all sorts of Boston barriers (she’s not originally from here; she grew up outside Chicago), but it also showed how a progressive can run a smart, well-organized campaign.
— She’ll need all her organizational skills, since she takes office in two weeks — on November 16.
— Her biggest challenge may be fulfilling many of her campaign themes. Eliminating fares at the MBTA, instituting rent control, and abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency won’t be easy, largely because she would need state help to accomplish all of those goals. One key roadblock would be Gov. Charlie Baker, who made clear he disagreed with her on most of these issues. Read more.
Mayoral rundown: Incumbent mayors lost in Framingham, Westfield, and Gloucester and newcomers took the reins in Lawrence, Lynn, Holyoke, Somerville, and North Adams. Read more.
Maine says no to Mass.: A bid by Massachusetts to import hydro-electricity from Quebec via Maine hit a major snag, as Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question that would block the transmission line. The fight is likely to go on in the courts, but the Natural Resources Council of Maine called on Massachusetts to pursue “an alternative option for meeting its climate goals without imposing significant environmental harm on another New England state.” Read more.
Big mental health proposal: The Senate today unveils its plan to spend billions in federal ARPA funding. One element of the plan calls for investing $400 million on mental health, including $122 million to pay off student loans and other debt of some 2,000 mental health clinicians in return for promises to work at least four years at a Massachusetts facility. The House’s proposal called for spending $250 million on behavioral health. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a low-dose COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer for all children ages 5-12. (NPR)
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and Beverly Mayor Mike Cahill easily win reelection. (Salem News) Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini won a tenth term in office. (Eagle-Tribune) Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson and Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella also easily retain their seats. (Telegram & Gazette) So do Agawam Mayor William Sapelli and Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. (MassLive) Gina-Louise Sciarra is elected mayor of Northampton. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
Boston voters overwhelmingly approved a binding ballot question giving the CIty Council more power in budgeting and a non-binding question favoring a return to an elected School Committee. (Boston Globe)
Democrat Jamie Belsito and Republican Bob Snow will face off in a special election in the 4th Essex District for the state representative seat formerly held by Rep. Brad Hill. (Salem News)
Maine voters approved a constitutional amendment that would guarantee voters the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce, and consume the food they want. (Associated Press)
Two candidates in a Northampton City Council race are separated by just 20 votes. (MassLive)
Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected governor in what had become reliably blue Virginia, a bad sign for Democrats heading into next year’s midterm contests. (Washington Post)
Eric Adams was elected mayor of New York City, becoming the second Black leader of the nation’s biggest city. (New York Times)
A Farm to School bill is proposing a new grant program to help schools bring fresh, local meals sourced by local farmers to schools. (Boston University Statehouse program)
The Coast Guard identified Roger Mills, who is believed to be a retiree from Woburn, as the pilot of the plane that went down off the coast of Orleans on Sunday night. (Cape Cod Times)
An inmate at the Massachusetts Treatment Center is accused of murdering another inmate. (MassLive)
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is no longer included in the House reconciliation bill. (America’s Newspapers)
Katharine Graham, the former owner and publisher of the Washington Post, will appear on a postage stamp next year. (US Postal Service)
DraftKings and FanDuel reportedly submit bids to buy The Athletic, which has been unprofitable the last two years. (FrontOfficeSports.com)PASSINGS
Reginal Taylor of New York City wrote a note to the Berkshire Eagle and included his obituary so his friends in the Berkshires would be aware he had died. The Eagle traces Taylor’s story.