A “tough two years” comes to an end
Bay State voters split the ticket for the two major races in Mass last week, reelecting incumbent Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren handily. The political turbulence that highlighted the September primary was largely absent on Election Night, as incumbents were reelected in every statewide and congressional contest.
Warren won with over 60 percent of the vote against GOP nominee Geoff Diehl.
“It has been a tough two years,” Warren told supporters at her victory party in Boston. “But together we have marched, together we have run, together we have persisted and insisted that our voices be heard, that our votes be counted, and that our values be respected.”
Warren is considered a potential candidate for president in 2020. Diehl, a state rep from Whitman, was co-chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts.
Baker’s win was even more convincing, running ahead of Democratic nominee Jay Gonzalez in every county in the Commonwealth to amass a 30-plus point victory.
In Boston, the biggest moment arguably came when Rachael Rollins was elected Suffolk district attorney, demolishing the more conservative independent Michael Maloney by more than 60 points. Rollins gained notoriety by posting a list of 15 petty offenses she vowed not to prosecute as DA. Maloney referred to the list as “crazy.”
“Voters sent a very clear signal today that our criminal justice system is not working for too many people and it’s time for a change,” Rollins said in a statement. “We will start by creating an office that adequately reflects the community it serves and that is engaged in every neighborhood within the county.”
Rollins will be the first black woman to serve as DA in Massachusetts.
In the ballot initiatives, Question 1, which would have limited the number of patients assigned to nurses, suffered a thumping defeat with 70 percent of voters opposing the measure.
Question 2, which aimed to create a commission to investigate the financing of political campaigns, and Question 3, which reaffirmed transgender rights, both passed easily.
Mass will also send two new faces to the US House of Representatives where, after the Democratic Party’s national romp, they will serve in the majority for the first time since 2011. In the 7th District, Ayanna Pressley’s meteoric rise to the House was made official as she ran unopposed to victory after upending longtime Rep. Michael Capuano in the primary.
Pressley won’t be the only new woman to join the Commonwealth’s congressional delegation. In the Merrimack Valley, Lori Trahan defeated GOP businessman Rick Green to win the seat vacated by Rep. Niki Tsongas.
Also in the Merrimack Valley, first-time candidate Tram Nguyen ousted state Rep. Jim Lyons, one of the Commonwealth’s most right-wing politicians, in the 18th Essex District. Nguyen, who ran on expanding healthcare and education, unseated Lyons with 54 percent of the vote. Lyons had represented the district since being elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010.
At the national level, a pair of Mass Democrats stand to gain significant influence as their party seized power in the Congress’ lower chamber. Rep. Richard Neal (D, MA-1), currently the ranking member of the House Ways and Means committee, is slated to chair the group that oversees tax policy and Social Security benefits. Rep. Jim McGovern (D, MA-2) will head the House Rules committee, which will be the primary body in trying to keep President Trump in check over the next two years.
Patrick Cochran is an independent journalist covering politics and grassroots activism.