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Paul Giorgio: Baker Wins, Attorney General Jinx Carries On

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Republican Charlie Baker on his second try for the Corner Office on Beacon Hill barely squeaked by Martha Coakley, thus keeping the Attorney General jinx in play. No Democratic Attorney General has been able to be elected to higher office in modern times. The Baker/Polito ticket took a majority of Worcester County towns but lost the  City of Worcester. Interestingly, they were closer here, than in other major cities. This may be attributed to Polito’s roots in the area. In fact in a surprise, the Baker/Polito ticket took Worcester’s ward 5. Baker had no coattails as Democrats held on to the lower Constitutional Offices. And with Ed Markey’s reelection, the entire Congressional delegation remains in Democratic hands.

Baker’s victory came despite the fact that the Republicans had no ground game and had to rely on TV messaging to get their views across to the voters. Baker outspent Martha Coakley with a heavy infusion of cash from the Republican Governor’s Association.

Baker returns us to the era of a divided State House with the Democrats controlling both branches of the Legislature and the Republicans holding the Corner Office. Baker will bring us back to the days of Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci.

Did Mayor Menino effect the election?

Another question people will be asking is: Did Tom Menino’s death play a role in the election. I believe it did. It is clear now that Coakley was on her way back, when Menino’s death froze all political coverage. Both candidates suspended activity for at least one or two days and the news was dominated by the Boston mayor’s death. Did this cost Coakley precious time?  I think so.

Who are the go to people in Worcester?

Since all politics is local the question becomes who will be the go to folks in Central Massachusetts for baker. Obviously Karyn Polito will take the public lead for the area. Remember proximity to power is power.  But there are a few other people in the area who have Baker’s ear on public policy. One of them is Former City Councilor Dave Fosberg, who was chairman of the Baker campaign and a key advisor.  Another local leader who has close ties to the Governor elect is John Budd former Chairman of the Board of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare.  Of course we can’t neglect former City Manager Mike O’Brien who in his first public foray into politics was with Baker.

Former mayor Ray Mariano who is now Executive Director of the Worcester Housing Authority and has a solid relationship with Baker could be in line for the position of Secretary of Housing, if Baker is looking for a Democrat.

A sea of Red

The interesting note is how red Worcester County has become. If you look at a map of the area you see a sea of red with a blue island called Worcester in the middle.

Longtime Democratic State Senator Dick Moore lost his South County seat to Republican Ryan Fattman, whose wife bested Register of Probate Steve Abraham. State Representative Anne Gobi was able to hold out and win election to the State Senate by a handful of votes. This was a seat held by Steve Brewer for almost 25 years.

Changes in the city

In a race closer to home, Worcester elected its first Republican State Representative in nearly 4 decades when Kate Campanale, a first time candidate beat Leicester Selectman and labor honcho Doug Belanger. The last Republican to be elected in Worcester was Dave Lionett, who held a seat on the west side of the city. The seat that Campanale won was the one held by John Bieneda for 30 years before his recent death. The question is can she keep the seat.  Two names were tossed around on election night as possible challengers to Campanale, one was former candidate Moses Dixon and the other was District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera, who would be a formidable opponent.

So the question at the end of the day is how red Worcester County is becoming and what does that mean for County Office holders in the future. Can that redness pour over the city line and pollute our bastion of Democracy.

Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.


Related Slideshow: Top Trends and Surprises in the MA General Election

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Charlie Baker Squeaks By

Bill McCarthy, Worcester Representative for the MassGOP State Committee

“I think the Baker campaign did a great job of targeting everyone that they needed to target to ensure a win. Baker did a lot of work with independent voters, unions, and other groups that he knew that knew he was going to need to close the gap in to beat Coakley.”

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Fattmans Win Big

John Mahoney, State Rep from Worcester's 13th District

On Ryan: "I'm not surprised. I came in with Ryan four years ago. He did relentless door knocking. It's so effective. He is a good candidate. He's great with people and door knocking is good of you have the ability to commend with people."

On Stephanie: "I was outside Worcester quite a bit watching my sons play football. The visibility she had outside the city was great. It was a really well run campaign. It's a position that's obscure to most people. It became a popularity contest.

On Fattmans: "They were really well advised. It's like watching football when there's a really good team playing a great game. And though they may not be your team, they still executed very well."

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Women Take Four of Six Statewide Offices

Samantha Washburn-Baronie, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus

“There were a lot of great victories for women in Massachusetts on Election Day. Even with Coakley losing, her message to women was an encouraging sign for women everywhere. The success of Healey, Goldberg, and others is a huge victory.”

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Worcester's Youth Movement

Dan Donahue (D), State Representative of Worcester’s 16th District

“I think experience is extremely important when you’re dealing with the political arena. Having the experience, having the background, and having different paths through life is very important and it enriches how the city’s decision making process will go. However, politics is always an ever-changing game. Its great to see young people care about the city, who have a passion and desire to get involved in politics and get involved in the decision making process."

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Healey Becomes First Openly Gay AG

Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign President

"Maura Healey is one of the staunchest advocates for equality we have in this country, and we join her in celebrating her historic victory tonight. As the nation's first openly gay attorney general, she is an inspirational trailblazer and will fight to guarantee civil rights and legal equality for all people of Massachusetts."

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Chandler Wins By Large Margin

David LeBouef, Chandler's Campaign Manager

"This was a real Republican wave that was happening so we really had to work extra hard not only supporting our fellow Democrats but making sure we working on coordinated efforts and adding our own efforts to it. Harriette was out knocking on doors, making phone calls, and we really invested more heavily in our field program."

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Martha Coakley Loses Momentum, Gov Race

David Kravitz, Blue Mass Group 

“Unexpected late events can have an outsized impact on elections, and that seems to me what happened here.  Charlie Baker committed a major unforced error in the last debate by telling a story about a fisherman that seems to have been fictional in substantial part, and that generated a flurry of bad headlines and embarrassing press appearances where he was mumbling things about the essence of the story being true, whatever that means. If the press had run with that for another couple of days, who knows how many late-breaking undecideds it might have swung in an already very close race. But Menino’s death took over the front pages for about four straight days, and made it impossible for either campaign to make news in the final stretch – which suited Team Baker just fine."

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Casinos are Coming to MA

Stewart Loosemore, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy at the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

“We might not have a facility here, but there are still economic benefits for both Worcester and Central Massachusetts. We aren’t talking about jobs in the state, we are talking about jobs in the city and the region. Not only that, if money is brought to the local economy, then it stays local.”

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Republicans Control Senate and House

Robert Boatright, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science at Clark University

“This is a Senate that might not accomplish much. The big story here is going to be if the Republicans who won in traditionally Democratic states and whether or not those seats will be retained by Republicans in a Presidential Election year.”

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Richard Moore Loses Senate Seat

Anthony Petrone, Campaign Advisor for Steve Abraham

"I'm not shocked. There's a time and place in the political world when you need to know to call it quits. There was a lot of indication that Fattman would win. When Fattman moved to Webster, he increased his base. He had the towns he represented as a representative plus all the conservatives in Webster. Moore was a very effective Senator and it's too bad he had to lose under these terms. But in reality, people knew he was in trouble."


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