Week Ending November 5, 2010
With an extremely strong night for Republicans nationally on Election Day, Massachusetts was one of the few bright spots for Democrats in the country. In addition to the Governor’s race, Democrats emerged victorious in the campaigns for State Treasurer, State Auditor, Attorney General and Secretary of State. All nine incumbent Democratic Congressmen were re-elected and Democrats won the single open Congressional seat for the 10th district. Democrats also maintained their large majorities in the State Legislature; gaining one seat in the Senate (now 36 -4) and losing at least 15 seats in the House once all races are finalized (likely 130 – 30).
In the Governor’s race, Governor Deval Patrick and his running mate, Lt. Governor Tim Murray were re-elected by a 7 point margin. Republican Charlie Baker emerged with 42% and Independent Tim Cahill received 8%. Green/Rainbow party candidate Jill Stein received less than 1.5% of the vote. Some are attributing Charlie Baker’s loss in part to his failure to get support from unenrolled voters and women, while others are pointing to the effectiveness of the Patrick/Murray GOTV operation in getting supporters to the polls. In the race to replace retiring state Auditor Joseph DeNucci, former Patrick Administration Secretary Suzanne Bump beat former CFO of the state lottery Mary Connaughton by the smallest margins of the night, 49% to 46%. Treasurer-elect Steve Grossman beat former state Representative Karyn Polito 55% to 45%. Both Attorney General Martha Coakley and Secretary of State Bill Galvin were re-elected by very comfortable margins (63% to 37% for AG and 65% to 33% for SoS).
In the state legislature, Democrats maintained a veto-proof majority in both the House and the Senate for the upcoming 2011-12 Legislative Session. However, there will be many new faces in both chambers as there were 8 open seats in the Senate and 27 open seats in the House. In addition, at least 12 incumbent Democrats lost their seats in the House (with one further race pending a recount). In the Senate, the Democrats picked up all eight open seats to increase their majority by one seat, 36-4. In the House, Republicans won four open seats formerly held by Democrats and increased their numbers in the House, though still a clear minority with 31 or 32 members of the 160 seat body.
After he was re-elected, the Governor on Thursday refreshed his call for the Legislature to reconvene before the end of the calendar year and pass the expanded gaming legislation that is still before them. Despite the politics surrounding the debate over expanding gaming earlier in the year, Governor Patrick this week said that a bill authorizing three destination resorts, that he and the Legislature agreed on, should be enacted and that any other differences could be saved for another day.
On Monday, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue released the tax collection figures for the month of October. The state collected $209 million more than expected and now has collected $430 million more than benchmarked over the first four months of FY2011. Governor Patrick stated that he is optimistic that this represents the beginning of a trend and Massachusetts’ tax revenues will continue to increase – showing signs of a true economic recovery here.
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors released statistics this week which showed a dramatic decrease in pending single family home and condo sales for the month of October. Purchase and sales agreements in October were down 22%. Massachusetts Association of Realtors President Kevin Sears predicted that based on the slight increase in pending home sales from September to October, prices for homes could continue to go down resulting in the number of home sales going up.
John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
BSA/AIA MA Public Policy Director
Boston Society of Architects/AIA