Baker Wins, But MA Elections Show State Still Blue

Seth Dussault, Sports Editor

BOSTON, Mass.—Incoming Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will have a tall task ahead of him for the next four years as a Republican in a state that has elected another Democratic supermajority to both the State House and State Senate. His ability to compromise and find common ground will need to be his biggest strength if he is to be a successful leader.baker

Baker, who won by a roughly 40,000 vote margin and captured just 48.5% of all votes, certainly does not have a mandate to try to drag the state toward political conservatism.

Nor does he seem to want to move in that direction. While Baker has constantly talked about being friendly to business, it has generally been couched in terms of improvements to the state’s crumbling infrastructure as much as it has tax cuts that he knows are unlikely to pass.

He is pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, and pro-universal Pre-K, and he believes in human-caused climate change. Those are not traditional Republican stances by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact in many states his positions would be mistaken for those held by a Democrat.

Baker’s stance on marriage equality is perhaps the most enlightening part about him. In the gubernatorial debate in Springfield, he slammed ultra-conservative candidate Scott Lively for what he called an “offensive” stance on homosexuals in society, noting that his own brother is married to another man and so the issue is one that is deeply personal.

In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that his personality was a huge part of how he was elected in the first place. His main opponent, Martha Coakley, has a (perhaps undeserved) reputation of being impersonal and unlikable, while Baker has done his best to cultivate a character of approachability and caring.

Whether or not it was fairly earned, Coakley was unable to break that perception and it likely cost her the election.

The impact of her poor showing did not follow down the ticket, however; 126 of the 160 State House seats went to Democrats, and 34 of the 40 State Senate seats did as well. Maura Healey won 62.5% of the vote for the state’s Attorney General post, William Galvin was re-elected Secretary of the Commonwealth with 67.6% of the vote, and Deb Goldberg and Suzanne Bump won the state’s Treasurer and Auditor positions.

Even the federal elections swung hard to the blue side, with all nine Representatives elected to Congress coming from the Democratic Party and Senator Ed Markey cruising to re-election to a full term; Elizabeth Warren was not up for re-election, though her popularity suggests that she too would have been re-elected if she had been.

In all, despite Coakley’s loss to Baker at the top spot, the Massachusetts election went far better for Democrats than national numbers did; while Congress has turned a deep shade of red, citizens of the Bay State have continued to think blue.