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Mass. Republicans lose ALL statewide & Congressional races
Despite tsunami across America in 2010 elections
Democrats, unions, leftwing groups made a difference
POSTED: Nov 4, 2010
Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei, the socially-liberal anti-family Republican Party candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor, went down in flames 49%-42%.
And on their downward coattails went all nine congressional Republican challengers, as well as all the other statewide offices: Attorney General, Treasurer, and Auditor.
That complete sweep of top offices came as a shock even to the Democrats. Mary Z. Connaughton was widely believed to be on an easy road to victory over the scandal-plagued Suzanne Bump. Karyn Polito looked like she'd become the next Treasurer. And many experts thought that at least a few of Congressional challengers would make it, particularly Jeffrey Perry, Bill Hudak, and Jon Golnik. And especially Sean Bielat, against Barney Frank, seemed to have a very well-funded, well-organized campaign. But all of them lost by considerable margins.
It seemed that the "top of the ticket" where the bulk of the political energy was expended dragged down the rest of the major offices, despite their individual campaigns.
On the ballot questions, the repeal of the sales tax on alcoholic beverages passed but the other two were defeated. Why Massachusetts citizens did not want to lower their sales tax is a mystery.
Two Republicans were elected to the Governor's Council, the first in nearly 20 years, but little is known of them. If they turn out to be "good" then half of the Governor's Council will be a good block to stop bad judges from being confirmed, although the far-left Lt. Governor Tim Murray is the tie-breaking vote.
Big factors: Democrats, unions, etc., helped left gain victory
The opponents also fought back pretty hard. The Democratic Party, the major labor unions, and their affiliated special interest groups coordinated to fight effectively the anti-incumbent surge in Massachusetts.
Their two major tactics included:
(1) Vicious personal attack ads. We've never seen anything like it. It was particularly ugly against Jeffrey Perry and Bill Hudak, Sean Bielat, Charlie Baker, as well as in key legislative races. It was vicious and personal. Even their ballot question ads were nasty. On the other hand, the Republicans' attack ads, though quite aggressive, mostly focused on a candidate's record or statements he'd made, not his personal life or past. For example, Barney Frank's well-known personal escapades were never mentioned in Bielat's ads.
(2) Get-out-the-vote: Poll watching and follow-up. This is a perfectly legitimate get-out-the-vote tactic that involves having a person next to every voting area checking off voters as they say their names to the polling officials. At intervals during the day, their organization calls up voters who haven't voted, whom they've already identified as friendly, and offers them rides to the polls, etc. This takes good planning but is very effective. The Democrats and unions were doing this all over the state. It probably made the difference of thousands of votes. The Republicans don't seem to have done it at all.
Some people also blame Cahill's 8% vote for Baker's loss. But most experts don't agree with that. According to pollsters, Cahill took equal numbers of voters from Patrick and Baker, which makes sense because Cahill's views and positions ranged across the political spectrum.
Ironically, the Repubican establishment put huge support in the statewide races, and largely ignored the local Legislative races. That odd strategy goes back to the Romney era and generally ends up with the Republicans losing even more seats in the Legislature. This year the Legislative races managed to fare better because (a) there were several very good candidates; (b) there was an anti-Legislature mood; (c) the Tea Parties were there to take up the slack in their support on the ground; and (d) the Democrats also ignored the State House races, unlike in past years. But we think things could have even gone even better.
In this political climate, it's generally agreed that the Republicans should have been able to make big gains in the top state races, especially since they were able to win lower-level Legislature races fairly easily. A chance like this comes very rarely.