With Patrick Win, Mass. Voters Give Dems A Second Chance

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BOSTON — It appears that Scott Brown's victory in January was a one-time message from Massachusetts voters.

Voters are giving Gov. Deval Patrick four more years to work on the problems facing the state. Patrick eked out a narrow victory Tuesday night, earning less than 50 percent of the vote against his three opponents. His victory came in large part thanks to a tremendous grass-roots organization.

Patrick gave credit to the Massachusetts Democratic Party's "get out the vote" effort for his victory.

"I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who held a sign, who made phone calls and sent e-mails and tweets, who helped today....who helped today in the greatest get out the vote effort in the history of Massachusetts politics," Patrick said.

Patrick called the victory sweet indeed, but asked his supporters to go back to work starting today.

"We go back to work in service of a brighter and better commonwealth, a better future for those who voted for us and those who did not alike," he said.

Patrick's Republican opponent, Charlie Baker, was gracious in defeat.

Patrick supporters after his win Tuesday night. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)
Patrick supporters after his win Tuesday night. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)

"The governor, the treasurer, Dr. Jill Stein, they made us all give our best every single day for the past 15 months, and they are probably the only ones who can truly appreciate how demanding this experience has been and what it takes to run a race like this one," Baker said. "And while we certainly had our disagreements over policy, and at times things certainly got a little tense, I never thought for a moment or doubted that any of them didn't have the best interests of the commonwealth and its wonderful people at heart."

Baker lost in part because he wasn't able to persuade enough voters that he could fix the state's problems.

Typically, candidates for governor can't win unless they carry South Shore towns such as Hull.

"We go back to work in service of a brighter and better commonwealth, a better future for those who voted for us and those who did not alike."

Gov. Deval Patrick

Johnny Guilfoy set up his hot dog stand in front of the middle school where the entire town votes. He was selling a 15-inch dog called the "governator," with a sign that said, "A big campaign calls for a big hot dog." Guilfoy wasn't willing to give up how he voted.

"The thing is, both Republicans and Democrats eat sausages and hot dogs, so therefore, I belong to no political party," Guilfoy said.

Harvey Jacovitz ordered two sausages with peppers and onions. He didn't go for the governator, but he did vote for Patrick because he didn't buy Baker's solutions to the state's economic problems.

"It's impossible to cut taxes. We got a big deficit coming," Jacovitz said. "How's he gonna cut taxes? You tell me that. Is he going to fire 3,000, 4,000 people?"

Hull went for Patrick. Not so most of the South Shore. But in communities that went for Baker, enough voters came out for Patrick to deprive Baker of the wide suburban margins he needed to offset Patrick's huge lead in the cities. Patrick's victory came in part from Democrats who turned out in large numbers to give him more time, even though their support was sometimes lukewarm.

Genevieve Healey works at a school in Weymouth, where she voted.

"I think Deval Patrick has been dealing with the tough issues, but I would like to give him more time to play things out. I support most of his policies on things, and I think he is doing an adequate job," Healey said.

Michael Rice, a senior at Hampshire College, drove more than two hours from Amherst to Hingham to vote for Patrick.

"I'm not willing to say that four years is enough time to see everything that we could see out of Deval. One term is not enough for me," Rice said.

Hingham and Weymouth went for Baker, but Patrick did well in other suburbs: he carried most of Metro West, and also the South Coast — parts of the state that went for Scott Brown in January but were not ready to broaden that upset into a Republican sweep this fall. Massachusetts remained a blue state, standing against the big red tide that swept the country Tuesday.


This program aired on November 3, 2010.

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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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