This is the quaint New England polling place where I voted on Tuesday on my way to work. It was so early that it was still sorta dark out, yet eleven people had voted before me.
It was indeed a higher than expected turnout, a development I issued a warning about some weeks ago. Many pundits predicted a Republican tsunami, but in the end it was only a wave. Yet perhaps that reduction from a tsunami to a wave was really for the best. A wave was sufficient to insure the election of the wise libertarian Rand Paul, but a tsunami would have carried in the embarrassing Christine O'Donnell. In any case the wave was sufficient to humble President Obama, in exactly the way I predicted over a year ago. That's the great thing about this blog, you get to read the news a year in advance!
However, that Republican wave mostly passed over New England, especially Massachusetts and Connecticut. The only exception was the State of Maine, which elected a Tea Party governor with a GOP takeover of both branches of their state legislature. Gee I guess that's what they mean by that old saying "As goes Maine, so goes the nation!"
Oh well, I'm glad that the elections are finally over, but before moving on let's have one last backward glance at what happened and how it all turned out.
Deval Patrick (48%) Charles Baker (42%) Timothy Cahill (8%)
Jill Stein (1%)
Patrick started 2010 with the lowest approval ratings of any governor in the country. Yet on Election Day it was he who had the last laugh, thanks to a dull GOP challenge from political unknown Charlie Baker, a spoiler campaign by opportunist Tim Cahill and a campaign by Jill Stein so looney left that even Massachusetts liberals found her too extreme. The downside for Deval is that now he has to govern through the major budget crisis that lies just around the corner.
Mark Mastroianni (59%) Stephen Buoniconti (41%)
For decades Hampden County suffered through the rascal judicial leadership of Matty Ryan, who treated the District Attorney's office as his personal fiefdom. Then came the more competent Bill Bennett, but his tenure was marred by his stubborn blindspot to the local political corruption that was all around him. Voters wisely avoided a third tenure of folly by electing Mastroianni over the ethically challenged Steve Buoniconti, who seemed to be on friendly terms with every political crook in the Valley.
John Olver (60%) William Gunn (35%) Michael Engel (5%)
Bill Gunn exploded onto the Valley's political scene in the aftermath of his arrest in Washington D.C. for creating a disturbance in the halls of Congresss during the healthcare debate. But that national exposure was basically all the attention he could muster in his penniless campaign. Given the always longshot chances he had in this very liberal district, Gunn's vote totals are actually pretty good. The debates in this race also showed the incumbent Olver coming across as old and spacy, fueling speculation that this win was Olver's last hurrah. Leftist Professor Engel's embarrassing showing proves that the radical Left is dead even in the Happy Valley.
Richard Neal (57%) Thomas Wesley(43%)
This race was surprisingly close considering how entrenched Neal is and the fact that his challenger was a political unknown with no money. Neal's weak showing all but guarantees that he will face a major challenge in 2012.
Brian Ashe (51%) Marie Angelides (49%)
Angelides shocked the Valley's political world with her upset primary win over the heavily favored Jack Villamaino, yet she narrowly failed at repeating her upset in the general election. Expect to see her resurface on the political scene.
Nicholas Boldyga (40%) Rosemary Sandlin (39%) Anthony Bonavita (21%)
A bitter split within the Democrat party allowed Boldyga to pull off the Valley's biggest political upset of 2010 by happily ousting the contemptible hack Sandlin. Now his task is to prove that he is not just a one term wonder.
Michael Finn (55%) Gregory Neffinger (45%)
It is tragic to see a first-class candidate like Neffinger lose to a hack like Finn, who has disturbing ties to the Petrolati gang.
Sean Curran (80%) Robert Underwood (20%)
Curran was lucky in the opposition he faced this year in the primary against the hapless Chris Asselin and in the general against perennial candidate Underwood. But Curran should take this opportunity over the next two years to mend fences, because there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in that district that a stronger candidate might take advantage of in 2012.
Angelo Puppolo Jr. (65%) Joshua Carpenter (35%)
It's no surprise that the popular moderate Puppolo easily won re-election, but his spirited young challenger has established himself even in defeat as someone worth watching in the future.
Ellen Story (77%)Daniel Sandell (19%) Daniel Melick (4%)
Story humbled her challengers with her landslide win, but Dan Sandell ran an interesting, issues based campaign that makes one hope to see more of him. The same is true for challenger Melick, who was considered, fairly or not, as "the pot candidate." However, Melick already won on his key issue because during the course of the campaign Story actually changed her position and agreed to support legalization. Expect Amherst's many pot activists to hold her to her word.
Gale Candaras (58%) Thomas McCarthy (42%)
Citizen/businessman McCarthy did surprisingly well against Candaras, who had powerful establishment backing. Let's see a rematch in 2012!
Finally, see this funny political cartoon set in Springfield's Duggan Junior High School by clicking here.
So dat's da way da ball bounced, and now we'll have to wait and see what these dudes do once they're sworn in. In the meantime, let's turn to other compelling matters, like somebody getting jumped during a Halloween show in Northampton.