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Massachusetts Democrats Take Statewide Offices Amid Gubernatorial Loss

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The GOP took the top prize when Charlie Baker won the gubernatorial race, but it was a clean sweep for Massachusetts Democrats in the other statewide races Tuesday. Here’s a rundown of the offices and how people voted on four ballot questions.After Martha Coakley conceded the race for governor, the attorney general found a silver lining in her successor and fellow Democrat Maura Healey as she addressed supporters Wednesday morning. Coakley said its important women continue to break down perceived gender barriers.

“And if you want a good example of that, she’s right at my left shoulder,” Coakley said. “Look at Maura Healey!”

In beating Republican John Miller, Healey, a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general, will become the first openly gay attorney general in the country. Democratic Senator Ed Markey easily defeated Republican Brain Herr to secure a full six-year term. Deb Goldberg bested the GOP’s Mike Heffernan and Green-Rainbow candidate Ian Jackson for treasurer after Democrat Steve Grossman fell short in the gubernatorial primary. Auditor Suzanne Bump will serve a second term, edging Republican Patricia Saint-Aubin and MK Merelice, who ran as a Green-Rainbow candidate. Bump, a Democrat from Great Barrington, has been called out by her own party for issuing harsh reports of state agencies while Democratic Governor Deval Patrick has been in office.

“Yes sometimes that means I’ve had pushback from members of my party, but we don’t make progress by ignoring broken systems,” said Bump.

In office since 1995, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin beat Republican Dave D’Arcangelo and Danny Factor of the Green-Rainbow Party. Berkshire GOP chair Jim Bronson says there weren’t too many surprises in the statewide races.

“I thought that we might have a chance with attorney general and maybe auditor, but the other ones not particularly,” Bronson said. “You’re going against a pretty strong Democratic machine in those.”

On Ballot Question 1, voters eliminated a new law linking future increases in the gas tax to inflation. Governor-elect Charlie Baker mentioned the voters’ decision Wednesday. The Republican said he believes Massachusetts residents have been nickeled and dimed by taxes, insisting state government needs to tighten its belt and live within its means.

“I certainly think that’s one place where voters will continue to only pay the 24 cents a gallon on their gas and won’t have to pay an additional amount based on the inflation adjuster,” Baker said. “I think that’s positive.”

Nearly 75 percent of voters said no to placing five-cent deposits on non-carbonated beverage containers. Jenny Gitlitz supported the bottle bill expansion in Question 2.

“I think that we have to regroup in the next year and decide what our next move will be,” Gitlitz said. “We remain committed to recycling, not just of beverage containers, but of all materials.”

Voting no on Question 3, people soundly rejected a ban on Las Vegas-style gambling, allowing casino projects to move forward in Springfield and eastern Massachusetts. And on Question 4, voters decided Massachusetts workers should be entitled to paid sick time, much to the joy of Democratic State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield.

“That is one of the biggest wins of the night, without question or doubt in my mind,” Farley-Bouvier said. “This is what is going to affect the most people.”

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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