Independent Falchuk Hits Threshold To Start New Party
|Evan Falchuk started his United Independent Party in 2013.|
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Baker Wins Governor's Race
|Charlie Baker, right, meeting with supporters in Pittsfield earlier this year. The Republican is the projected winner in his second race for the governor's office, defeating Berkshire County native Martha Coakley.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The race for governor was down to the wire between Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker on Tuesday and flowed into Wednesday morning.
Trailing significantly and with most major news organizations calling the race for the Baker, Coakley conceded the race shortly after 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
The Democrat Coakley wasn't ready to concede after polls closed and the results were being tallied in the late hours of Tuesday. Supporters left her campaign headquarters.
Shortly after 1 a.m., Baker gave a speech to his supporters that sounded like he was claiming victory.
""In this election, every vote counted," he said, followed by pledges to bring fiscal discipline and a "new director" to the state.
Then, however, he wasn't quite ready to make declarative statements regarding to vote, giving Coakley until the morning. Local Republicans weren't so reserved about their candidate's victory.
"We are certainly thrilled Charlie Baker will be our next governor. He's the right guy at the right time," said Berkshire County Republican Association President Jim Bronson.
Bronson was one of a handful supporters left at GOP campaign headquarters on Merrill Road early Wednesday morning — the rest had headed out as the gubernatorial race dragged on into the night. Local Baker supporters gathered there Tuesday to watch the results of both the Massachusetts race but also the federal elections across the country.
"It was a little closer than we would have liked to see," he said, citing polls that showed Baker with a larger lead heading into election day.
Baker was up by 25,000 votes by 12:21 a.m. with 94 percent of precincts reporting. Major news organizations were calling the race in his favor.
Both parties had campaigned hard over the last few weeks to get their supporters to the polls. The results were close, as the lead changed between the candidates several times over the course of the evening.
By contrast, the other statewide races were a sweep for the Democrats; a loss by Coakley may be more about the candidates than the parties. Bronson said he thought Baker ran a better campaign than his 2010 run, saying Baker showed "the real Charlie."
Berkshire County, however, went heavily for Coakley. She outpolled Baker 3 to 1 in her hometown of North Adams and nearly 4 to 1 in Williamstown. She also outpaced Baker by more than 4,000 votes in Pittsfield.
Attorney general winner Maura Healy, who stopped in both Pittsfield and North Adams over the weekend, was also a local favorite as well. Initial reports also showed Auditor Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington far outpacing her opponents in the county.
Despite losing all of the other state seats, local Republicans were also happy with the party picking up seven seats in the U.S. Senate, giving the GOP a majority.
"Republicans now have a couple of years to prove we can do what we said we'd do," Bronson said. "It is tremendous. It is the way the country needs to go."
Several North County town went against the grain on expanding the bottle bill, with Williamstown backing it 1,776 to 703, even as it went down to defeat by more than 70 percent statewide. Both Berkshire cities and several North County towns also bucked the trend on Question 1, voting against repealing the inflation-indexing of the gas tax. The question polled 53 percent "yes" to go back to a standard tax statewide. There was plenty of support for the ballot questions on earned sick time and keeping casinos, both of which also passed statewide. Explanations on the questions can be found here.
North Adams election worker Ron O'Brien said people had been steadily filtering into the polls all day to vote.
"It started out slow but it has been steady," O'Brien said at about 2 p.m. "A lot more steady than it has been in the past."
Out of the 8,864 registered voters 1,314 had voted in the four wards at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center by 2 p.m., and about 363 at Ward 4 at Greylock Elementary School shortly after noon.
Williamstown had a solid turnout of 54 percent of the town's electorate in the midterm election. Votes were cast by 2,521 residents from a checklist of 4,686.
Not all of them cast ballots in all the races, however. In the only contested local race on the ballot, the Mount Greylock School Committee, the second-leading vote-getter was "Blanks."
Voters were asked to choose two of three names for the two four-year seats on the committee that were at stake. Incumbent Carolyn Greene received 1,752 votes. "Blanks" received 1,257. The other winner along with Greene, Wendy Penner, received votes from 1,127 Williamstown voters.
Pittsfield had a turnout of 39.9 percent, with 11,372 voters for the city's 28,501 casting ballots.
Adams was also busy, said Town Clerk Haley Mezcywor: "It has been pretty steady today. It was really busy right around noon."
In Clarksburg, the numbers were trending up over voting in this year's town election with more than 160 voting by noon; a total of 246 had voted in the May election.
North Adams City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau had predicted about a 33 percent turnout this year, judging by the number of absentee ballots already submitted by last week.
She thought the tight gubernatorial race, which features Berkshires native Martha Coakley squaring off against opponent Charlie Baker, and the four question on the ballot may bring more people out.
"I would love to see 45 percent but I don't think that's realistic," she said last week.
It ended up being more that at 38 percent, with 3,357 of the city's 8,864 voters casting ballots. Despite predictions of low turnout, voting had been steady at least North County. Clarksburg was tracking at about 50 percent turnout by 6 p.m. and ended with a total of 52 percent, or 570 voters out of 1,078 casting ballots.
Town Clerk Carol Jammalo, too, thought the ballot questions could be driving turnout.
Or it might have been state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi.
The North Adams Democrat hasn't let the lack of a challenger this election dim her efforts at reaching voters. Cariddi sent out more than 8,000 postcards not only asking for votes for herself but for the full Democratic lineup as well.
"I think I knocked on 1,000 doors," she said outside the polling station at St. Elizabeth's.
Voter David Brown was impressed enough to get her autograph on the postcard he received.
"I drove 115 miles to make sure I got back here to vote," said Brown, who drives about 300 miles a day for his delivery job. "I went over to Millbury and Auburn and I'm telling you I made it back here on purpose to vote."
Brown said he wanted to make sure he cast votes for Cariddi and Martha Coakley, and against the expansion of the bottle bill.
"I don't think consumers want to pay for a 28-pack [of water] another $1.40 and then have the inconvenience of bringing those bottles back," he said, unconvinced that more bottle deposits would spur recycling.
In addition to the gubernatorial race that also includes three independent candidates, voters decided races for auditor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer, as well U.S. senator. All other elected offices had no challengers.
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AG Candidate Healey Hears Concerns on Hospital
|Democratic candidate for attorney general Maura Healey speaks with hospital advocates at the VFW on Saturday, later promising she would share information with the community on the progress of an investigation of its closure if elected.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Attorney general candidate Maura Healey has promised to follow through if elected on issues raised by the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital.
"I'm absolutely committed to be an advocate on this issue to fight for just that," she said. "I talked about it as a civil rights issue."
The Democrat took a detour from heavy campaigning during this last few days before the election to meet with more than two dozen activists and residents about the region's health care issues.
"I am with you on so many fronts on this," she said Saturday at the Veterans for Foreign Wars post. "I have concerns about the way that this all unfolded."
The hospital closed in late March with the bankruptcy of Northern Berkshire Healthcare. Current Attorney General Martha Coakley's attempt to prevent the emergency room from closing was pre-empted by the bankruptcy. Since then, her office was involved in the court proceedings that led to NBH's assets being acquired by Berkshire Health Systems and its reopening emergency services, and is conducting an investigation into the hospital's abrupt closure.
Healey, whose mother and other close family members were nurses, said she believed access to health care as well as to education, jobs and safe housing were basic civil rights.
"It's what I deeply believe in and what I'll fight for as your attorney general," Healey told the group, adding, "It bothers me deeply that people in this community would not have access to what I believe is a basic civil right."
The attorney general's office works across a broad range of issues, from non-profits to fair labor laws, with partner agencies, all of which Healey said she would work with on behalf of citizens, particularly in the areas of prescription drug abuse, disability rights and health care access and regional disparities.
In response to questions, she said she would review the NBH investigation, asking the group to understand she was not privy to its progress having resigned last year from her post in the AG's office so she could campaign for it.
"It's really really important there is transparency and one of the failings here is there wasn't transparency," Healey said.
The former pro basketball player grew up in rural New Hampshire, graduated from Harvard and received her law degree from Northeastern University.
After working as a Middlesex County prosecutor and in private law, she joined the attorney general's office as chief of the civil rights division, later overseeing public protection and business and labor.
Healey faces off against Republican John B. Miller on Tuesday. She encouraged those attending to vote for Martha Coakley for governor as well as for her.
"I think it's important who our next governor is. It's important for not only this area but for the state," saying she'd come into the AG's office on the heels of a Republican-led agencies in 2007.
"If you want to talk about cuts, if you want to talk about loss of services and you want to talk about decisions that were made by a governor and state agencices, they gutted the heart of health care and well-being of communities and families," she said. "That's what we'll go to and I firmly believe that."
Healey also promised to be back in the Berkshires should she become the next attorney general.
"If elected, when elected, I will be back out here often because this is what it means to be the people's lawyer, this is what it means to be the state's attorney general."
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Candidate Kerrigan Stops in Pittsfield For Get Out The Vote Push
|State Sen. Benjamin Downing, lieutenant governor candidate Steve Kerrigan and Mayor Daniel Bianchi on Friday.|
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