2018 Massachusetts election: Why these voters chose Elizabeth Warren and Charlie Baker

2018 Massachusetts election: Why these voters chose Elizabeth Warren and Charlie Baker

How a Massachusetts Republican became Americas most popular governor

But there were still a few surprising results in Massachusetts, starting with Question 1, which was expected to be one of the tighter contests decided Tuesday.

The ballot measure would have set strict limits on the numbers of patients assigned to hospital nurses.

His tie re-straightened Wednesday, Baker arrived at the State House shortly before 9:30 a.m. to listen to details about transportation studies in the Cabinet meeting. He traveled to Lawrence — the Merrimack Valley city rocked by gas explosions in September — to discuss recovery efforts. And he expressed optimism over such things as his “vulnerability planning initiative” around climate change and the “hazard mitigation programs” towns are developing.

The overall result on that question was not a complete surprise, as polls indicated that most voters opposed the measure, but the margin of victory was higher than reported in recent polling.

A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll conducted just two weeks ago showed about 59 percent of respondents said they opposed Question 1, while 32 percent supported it, and about 10 percent were undecided or did not answer.

On Tuesday, it appears the undecided crowd — and even some who were leaning toward “yes” — flocked to “no,” as statewide 70 percent of ballots cast opposed the measure, according to tallies as of Thursday morning.

Baker says he has no interest in federal office. He said Wednesday that he’ll “absolutely” compete his second term, and he’s generally avoided national political discussions as if they’re the plague. He also called it “really premature” to discuss whether he’ll run for a third term; Massachusetts governors aren’t bound to term limits.

Some communities have still not reported results, but most have, and they show the measure was approved in only one sizable community, winning by a narrow margin in Northampton. Otherwise, only a few small communities in the western part of the state and one on Martha’s Vineyard voted “yes.”

But Baker’s campaign pitch largely steered from detailing daring new initiatives that could emerge in a second term. With state revenue trending up, is he interested in crafting a tax cut proposal? Baker in 2010 supported trimming the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent in 2010 and voiced support for reducing it at April’s state Republican convention.

Video: Whats next for the Commonwealth after re-electing Governor Baker

Only five communities voted “no” on question 3, which upholds a law in Massachusetts barring discrimination against transgender people in public spaces. And in each of those five communities, the “no” side won by less than 2 percentage points.

Baker, in his final debate and again Wednesday, has pointed to addressing climate change as a major priority. That — like the opioid crisis, education funding, and health care financing — is also high up on House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo’s to-do list, which could help foster the same kind of collaborative work Baker touted on the campaign trail.

Video: Gov. Baker Back To Work After Big Re-Election Win

Polls prior to the election showed wide support for keeping the law on the books, with the most recent Suffolk/Globe poll finding 68 percent of respondents planned to vote “yes,” and 28 percent planned to vote “no.”

Avoiding the national political fray, though, is likely to become far more difficult as the 2020 presidential race heats up, with Senator Elizabeth Warren as a potential entrant and the possibility of a moderate Republican challenging President Trump in the GOP primary. Baker has often criticized the president and said he has no plans to vote for him in 2020.

Governor Baker nearly won Boston Republican Governor Charlie Baker trounced his Democratic challenger, Jay Gonzalez, across the state, carrying all but a few communities, mostly in the Boston area and parts of Western Mass. But surprisingly, Baker was close to also winning a majority of votes in the reliably liberal city of Boston. Gonzalez won in Boston with 50.7 percent of the vote to Baker’s 49.3 percent, a difference of just about 3,000 votes, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Compare that with 2014, when Democrat Martha Coakley ran up big margins against Baker in Boston, winning 66 percent of the vote to Baker’s 30 percent.

But many also reflect his get-to-work attitude. Jay Ash, his secretary of economic development, mused Tuesday on Twitter that instead of glad-handing at the polls on Election Day, he personally spent Tuesday “doing something very bureaucratic,” he wrote: “conducting 7 hours of FY ’20 budget meetings.”

And another reminder that every vote counts Away from the limelight, several local races around the state were decided by relatively slim margins. One glaring example was the contest for the seventh and final seat on the Dukes County Commission on Martha’s Vineyard. That was decided by a mere seven votes.

Gov. Charlie Baker is Mr. Fix-it at a time when politics seems broken. In an era of slamming the other side, he listens to the other side.

He pointed to a laundry list of priorities: building more housing, fighting the opioid crisis on new fronts, making the MBTA as reliable as he’s promised. “What people really want more than anything,” the Swampscott Republican told reporters Wednesday, “is progress.”

Winslow Townson/AP Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker applauds supporters during an election night rally Nov. 6 in Boston. As a Republican in a deep-blue state, he barely got elected in 2014. This week he won by two-thirds of the vote, and is ranked the No. 1 most popular governor in America, with a 70 percent approval rating. Loading…

Video: Gov. Charlie Baker Celebrates Re-Election

When Republican Gov. Charlie Baker won reelection in Massachusetts by a landslide this week, two of the most prominent attendees at his victory party were Democratic mayors. When we wake up in the morning, were not going to be Democrats and Republicans…. Were HUUUMAAAAAN, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken of Gloucester bellowed from the stage. This winter, if were going to have a storm, were all going to get snowed on together. Its an apt metaphor. His fans say Mr. Baker has become the nations most popular governor through listening, focusing on 100 percent of his constituents, and taking a pragmatic approach to problems that have included epic blizzards. Baker is not alone in being a governor whos both popular and moderate. At a time of rampant polarization, two of the other most well-liked governors in America are also Republicans in blue states, while Kansas voters just elected a Democrat over a conservative ideologue. Whats the secret sauce? The biggest thing weve tried to do, says Baker, is to not take the bait.

“I do know Charlie. And he is a planner and also an innovator,” Gray added. “I don’t think he’ll just show up to work the first day of his second term in January without having scrubbed the library for new initiatives that might improve the state.”

Video: Gov. Charlie Baker Celebrates Re-Election

He doesnt pick fights. His speeches are unremarkable. Hes not secretly running for president, at least as far as anyone can tell.

And, of course, there are unexpected challenges. It’s not a matter of if, but when, a humming economy sputters into a recession. Governor Deval Patrick, elected in 2006 on a tide of optimism, knows that all too well after the Great Recession cratered state finances.

If he picked a team jersey, it would say Massachusetts, not GOP. Many Democrats cant find it in themselves to revile him. In fact, some declare they like the guy. Even some who thought Hillary Clinton wasnt liberal enough admit they have cast ballots for Governor Baker. Twice.

Trump comes out with these insane ideas and most Republicans are like oh, yeah. And [Baker] has the guts to say – were not going to do that here, says Deb Hall, a liberal whose vote helped him win reelection by a landslide this week. I credit him for that. Im sure he gets flak for that.


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