None of the GOP candidates for statewide positions won more than 39% of the vote.
Massachusetts joined three other states last week in giving Democrats a legislative trifecta by electing Maura Healey to the corner office.
Healey beat Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl with ease, but dominated Boston and the region: She won Boston by 63 points, Medford by more than 50, Brookline by 72, Somerville by 79, and Cambridge by 82.
Diehl failed to improve on his losing numbers from his 2018 Senate campaign against Elizabeth Warren, winning just 35% of the vote.
Diehl did come out on top in some corners of the Commonwealth. He won a strip of small Central Mass towns west of Worcester in a region that has become about as reliably red as the state gets these days. Diehl also found some success in the Bay State’s other conservative bastion of the off-Cape Bristol-Plymouth region.
No Republican running for statewide office ran a competitive race. None of the GOP candidates for statewide positions won more than 39% of the vote. Their most competitive candidate, auditor hopeful Anthony Amore, lost by 17 points.
Following the rout, conservative columnist Howie Carr said the MassGOP was on “life support.” “Take the hint, pal,” Carr wrote in the Boston Herald. “And then take a hike. And while you’re at it, take Jim ‘Jones’ Lyons, the state Republican party chairman, with you. Geoff, you have now been defeated in successive campaigns for a) the state Senate, b) the US Senate, c) party chairman (by your pal Jim Jones Lyons) and finally d) for governor.”
Mass progressives notched their biggest wins not at the top of the ticket but in ballot initiatives and a sheriff’s race.
Question 1, the so-called “millionaires tax” to raise the income tax on people making more than $1 million from 5% to 9%, won by a close but convincing margin.
While much of Bristol, Plymouth, Middlesex, and Worcester counties voted heavily against the measure, massive support from Boston and Western Mass helped it pass.
In Bristol County, Republican Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, the longest-serving sheriff in the Commonwealth, will see his time at the post come to an end after being defeated by Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux. Hodgson, an immigration hardliner with ties to the far right, had built a dark reputation for the state of the county’s jails, where suicides and allegations of abuse mounted over his 25-year tenure. In a race where more than 177,000 votes were cast, Heroux won by 2,276.
Neighbors to the north helped keep the US Senate blue as Dem candidates in New Hampshire and Vermont each won convincingly. Each also reelected Baker-like moderate Republicans to their governorships.
Astonishingly, Vermont voters gave both Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic Senate candidate Peter Welch 40-point victories, a level of ticket-splitting unseen anywhere else in the country. And after a brief hiatus in Florida, former Gov. Paul LePage returned to Maine seeking to retake his old post from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. With a strong moderate independent candidate on the ballot for LePage’s victories in 2010 and 2014, LePage had won two terms to the Blaine House (that’s where the Maine governor resides) without ever earning more than 50% of the vote.
This time around, a confused-looking also-ran named Sam Hunkler siphoned off less than 2% of the vote from who knows where, and the Democrat won by 13 points.
At the House level, the GOP had prime targets in Connecticut and New Hampshire in their effort to regain some of their evaporated support across New England. They both failed.
Rep. Jahana Hayes narrowly defended her western Connecticut district against Republican state Sen. George Logan, while Dem Rep. Chris Pappas cruised to victory in his New Hampshire district that includes Manchester and Portsmouth. Pappas’ opponent, Karoline Leavitt, a former Trump intern who worked her way into the White House press office, would have become the youngest woman ever elected to the Congress at 25.
A moderate challenge to Rep. Seth Magaziner in Rhode Island by Republican Allen Fung also came up short.
With the sweep, Republicans continue to have just one representative from New England in Congress: Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Patrick Cochran is an independent journalist covering politics and grassroots activism.