Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley thanked supporters and cited governor-elect Charlie Baker’s “graciousness’’ in a concession speech Wednesday morning at her Somerville headquarters.
“I feel like we both won,’’ Coakley said. “We both raised issues important to Massachusetts.’’
Baker, meanwhile, spoke in a low-key press conference with reporters just after noon about the election and about plans for his transition team.
“We’re really looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work,’’ Baker said. “We certainly plan to lead as representatives of 100 percent of the state.’’
Baker will also meet with Patrick for a transitional meeting Wednesday afternoon. Baker said Jim Peyser, a former Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education, will lead his transition team.
Coakley, flanked by Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and attorney general-elect Maura Healey, encouraged supporters to work with Baker’s administration even after what she called a “hotly contested race.’’
“We were up, we were down. We were in, we were out. It was a little bit like a Dr. Seuss tale,’’ she said.
The outgoing attorney general choked up when telling women in her audience to never give up. “It’s important that you lean in,’’ she said, pointing to Warren and Healey as examples.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Baker held a 48.4–46.6 percentage point lead on Coakley, with Baker ahead by about 40,000 more votes.
Coakley had refused to concede the race early Wednesday morning, even as the Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, and Fox News all called the race for Baker after midnight.
Baker, a health-care CEO, came back from big early polling deficits to take the victory, cresting in the polls in the final weeks of the election. He picked up key endorsements, including one from The Boston Globe. Several Democratic mayors also crossed party lines to support Baker.
With the win, Baker resurrects the Bay State’s tradition of electing Republican executives to lead one of the most liberal states in the country. Baker follows in the footsteps of Mitt Romney, Paul Cellucci, and Bill Weld as red individuals floating in the state’s sea of blue legislators.
That streak of Republican governor reaches back before Weld’s 1990 election. Since 1913, Republicans have controlled the Massachusetts governor’s office for 55 years. By contrast, Republicans have controlled the White House for 48 years in the same span.
The three independent candidates for governor left little impression with the voters, though one helped establish a new political party in the state. Both Jeff McCormick and Scott Lively both garnered less than one percent of the vote.
Evan Falchuk, however, managed to collect more than three percent of the vote. Falchuk is the standard-bearer for the nascent United Independent Party, which needed him to hit that magic 3 percent number in Tuesday’s election. That’s the state’s threshold for official party recognition, which would allow the United Independents to hold primaries and field legislative candidates.
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