Red wave!!!! More like a drizzle, just like meteorologist over-projecting rain fall during a summer storm, everyone over speculated how well Republicans would result in the midterm elections. While Massachusetts went the way everyone thought It would with Democrats holding onto every seat, nationally Republicans did not have the night that anyone could have expected. Republican pundit Ben Shapiro said it another way “from red wave to red wedding.”
Historically speaking a sitting president usually loses big during the midterm election, but that did not happen this election cycle. For the last 2 years pollsters, political pundits and politicians have called for Republicans to win big this midterm season, winning back control of the House and the Senate. Though Republicans are most likely going to win back control of the House, it was not by the margin that they expected nor as it as widespread as people thought. While all races have not been called it is looking like President Biden and the Democratic party lost the fewest number of House seats during a Democratic presidents first midterm election in over 40 years. Democrats went into the night with a large margin to overcome to hold control of the House and Senate. To keep control, Democrats needed to win at least 45 races in competitive districts, where Republicans had to win 19 to gain control. As of this morning, Republicans have only won 7 and Democrats have won 24 of those races.
In key swing states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Arizona, there was massive Democratic voter turnout, largely made up of young voters, impeded the expected red wave. Democrats saw key wins in districts in these states where voters said that abortion rights were their top priority, knocking off some incumbents and far right competitors. Democrats were also able to flip the Senate seat in Pennsylvania where Democratic candidate John Fetterman won by a bigger margin than expected, keeping the Democrats chances of keeping control of the Senate alive. 3 states are yet to fully be decided, with one state (Georgia) going to a runoff election and Nevada and Arizona vote count not fully completed. Democrats are currently leading in the Senate race in Arizona and a closing the gap in the Nevada senate race. There is a chance where Democrats could go into the Georgia run-off election with a chance to take a 1 seat majority in the Senate.
It wasn’t all good bad news for Republicans though. Republicans went down to Florida and came back with a beautiful tan and great beach side condo. Republican Governor and suspected future Republican candidate for President, Ron DeSantis, dominated his competition by over 20 points. The fun in the sun didn’t stop their where republicans rode a red wave through Florida sweeping many house races and dominated in the one Senate race where incumbent Marco Rubio won by almost 18 points. Republicans were also able to defeat New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a high-ranking Democrat who is the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is responsible for getting other Democrats reelected. This is a major blow for Democrats who lost their high-ranking comrade in a state where they also just re-drew the district lines in favor of Democrats. Republicans are also still expected to win majority of the House which is nothing to gloss over. Republican control of the House kills any chance of significant democrat agenda items passing without large support from Republicans over Biden’s last 2 years in office. Such as key democratic agenda policy related to climate change and union growth (PRO Act).
It is not fully clear at this moment what caused the lack of a red wave across the country. It is most likely not because of one thing, but likely a collection of reason. Many believe that abortion rights played a large hand, in addition to, bad Republicans candidate chooses, and possibly Bidens policy achievements. When it comes to perceived bad Republican candidates, election day saw a lot of candidates that were vocal 2020 election deniers lose. Alabama was the only state where a governor candidate that was a 2020 election denier win their race. In Georgia, Republicans were not fans of the Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker. While the Republican Governor, Brian Kemp, won his election with over 2.1 million votes, Herschel Walker only received a little over 1.9 million votes, showing that even though Republicans went to the polls to vote for Kemp, they decided to stay out of the Senate race and not vote for either candidate.
While the elections have not been finalized in many states and there is still much anxiety over what the final results will be, there is one thing that is finally done……. Political ads! All those tv ads, texts and emails that have overrun our lives over the last couple months are finally done. We can now breathe a sigh of relief and drop our anxiety for when-ever our phone buzzes dreading a text or email from a campaign trying to ask for our money or get us to vote. I personally received over 45 emails in the last month asking for political donations. Even my Alma Mater, James Madison University, only sent me 10 emails this last month about my tuition payments. So I can now open my email and not want to throw my phone across the room.
Governor/High Office Positions
History was made this election cycle as Massachusetts as state attorney general (AG) Maura Healey was elected governor, becoming Massachusetts first elected female governor and the first openly lesbian women elected governor in the nation. Healey dominated her Republican competitor, former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, beating him by almost 30 points. The result comes as no shock to residents as Healey never trailed in the polls and held huge advantages in fundraising and name recognition. Healey, whose stepfather was president of a local teachers’ union, has been vocal about her support for unions. Healey received and endorsement from multiple union groups including SEIU State Council, one of the largest union groups in Massachusetts. In 2016, as AG, Healey lead a multi-state brief in support of federal efforts to provide greater transparency, fairness in union elections. While campaigning, Healey said that she would invest in workforce development and support to help improve behavioral health access, promote the use of community health workers to meet the needs of underserved communities, and expand access to telehealth services.
In addition to the governor race, Democrats swept the elections for attorney general, auditor, secretary of state and treasurer, continuing Republicans’ drought of holding any of those offices. Former Boston City Council president Andrea Campbell, was elected to replace Muara Healey as attorney general, making her the first black women to be elected to the position. Campbell defeated second time nominee Jay McMahon, a Bourne attorney who has a background in law enforcement. Campbell, who previously served as deputy legal counsel under Governor Deval Patrick, received endorsements from the SEIU State Council and said that she is committed to advancing labor rights for residents of the Commonwealth.
Democrats rode the coat-tails of Maura Healey’s massive win all the way down the ballot on Tuesday, resulting in Democrats flipping a couple of state House seats and holding on to win highly contested races in the state House and Senate. Democrats will now hold the most seats in House in over 10 years. In what many called “the most competitive race statewide,” incumbent Sen. Becca Rausch of Needham fended off a serious challenge from Republican Rep. Shawn Dooley. Rausch’s district that has historically flipped back and forth between the two parties.
Tuesday’s election will restore both chambers of the Legislature to full strength after seven different House districts sat vacant after representatives resigned partway through their two-year terms. House legislative leaders decided not to call special elections to fill those seats, citing the complexity of hosting contests for the existing district lines just a few months before the midterm elections. At least 21 winners of House races and five winners of Senate races in Tuesday’s general elections will be newcomers to the Legislature, most of whom emerged victorious in contests for open seats with no incumbent on the ballot.
This election included 4 ballot questions for voter to decide on, covering controversial topics including taxes to immigration policy. The 2 most contested ballot questions were Question 1 and Question 4. Question 1 asked voters to decide if the state should impose a “millionaire tax”, a 4% surtax on annual personal income above $1 million, while question 4 tried to repeal a new law that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for Massachusetts driver’s licenses. Residents of the Commonwealth, in a somewhat shocking occurrence, voted in favor of imposing the millionaire tax and to keep in place the driver’s license bill. Question 1 passed with 52% of the vote, while Question 4 passed with a little over 53%. Campaigners on both sides for question spent ABSURDS amount of money to garner support from residents. The opposition spent nearly $13,518,519.82, which is chump change compared to the supportive campaign who spent OVER $27 MILLION DOLLARS. That over $43 million dollars on one ballot question. I wonder if any of that money would be taxed now.
The other two ballot questions, Question 2 and 3, covered dental insurance and liquor licenses. Question 2, which would require dental insurance companies to spend at least 83 percent of premiums on member dental expenses and quality improvements, instead of administrative expenses, received an overwhelming support with 73% of “yes” votes. And lastly, Question 3, which would increase the number of alcohol licenses a single company could hold while gradually reducing the number of licenses specifically allowing the sale of all alcoholic beverages including liquor, did not pass, as a 55% majority voted against the ballot initiative. What does Massachusetts have against alcohol? I think it has something to do with having successful sports teams, if your teams win a lot there is less of thought to drown your sorrows with happy hour alcohol sales.