Election Night’s other winners and losers
We finally know that Charlie Baker won, Martha Coakley lost, and that roulette wheels will roll in Massachusetts after all. But now that the votes are counted, there are always winners and losers whose names don't appear on the ballot. Here's a rundown of other people who were helped or hurt on Election Night 2014.
■ Jack is back: Boston powerbroker and big Democrat Jack Connors crossed the aisle for his man Baker, raising about $200,000 at one fancy dinner at L’Espalier. Connors, the retired co-founder of advertising agency Hill Holliday, got some boldface business names to back Baker, including Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish, former John Hancock CEO David D’Alessandro, and ex-BostonCoach chief Larry Moulter.
■ Bill Weld: Our former governor is having a great year. First, his client, Steve Wynn, won a gaming license to open up a casino in Everett. Now, Weld’s protege just got the top job on Beacon Hill. Weld stumped for Baker on the campaign trail, and even appeared in a TV ad for him.
■ Evan Falchuk: The independent candidate for governor didn’t even come close to winning, but he captured enough votes – 3 percent – so that his United Independent Party can get official recognition and field legislative candidates in 2016.
■ Women: Coakley fell just short of making history as the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts, but she exemplified how female candidates have arrived. They are no longer the longshots, but the ones to beat. Voters could vote for a woman in five statewide contests -- governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, attorney general, and auditor. Female candidates took four of these races. Talk about rockin’ the vote.Talk about rockin’ the vote.
■ Big money: Cash is king in ballot petitions. Repealing the casino law felt like a bad bet, after gambling companies ponied up $12.1 million to fight it. And there was diminishing thirst to expand the bottle law after the beverage industry spent $8.8 million to keep the status quo. Both efforts went down in defeat.
■ Tom Menino: Gone, but how could we forget you? Menino’s sooner-than-expected death on Thursday put the brakes on a gubernatorial race that was really heating up, with Baker defending his weepy fisherman story and Coakley deflecting criticism that she was soft on Sal DiMasi. Instead, Menino’s wake and funeral dominated the news cycle up until Election Day. As usual, the mayor got his way, and we ate up every minute of it.
■ Tom Reilly: The former attorney general supported his good friend and former colleague Coakley for governor, but he stuck up for Baker when it came to setting the record straight on his time at Harvard Pilgrim. Reilly worked closely with Baker, then CEO of Harvard Pilgrim, to rescue the health insurer, and vouched that the Republican did not use state funds to prop up the company. Props to Reilly for sticking to his principles.
■ Gateway Cities: Both gubernatorial candidates focused on helping communities like Chelsea, Lowell, Lawrence, and Holyoke. As Greater Boston booms, these once-thriving industrial cities with large immigrant populations and high poverty rates need an economic stimulus. Now they’ve got the attention of the next administration.
■ Office of the attorney general: It’s cursed. Coakley joins a growing list of AGs in Massachusetts who failed to go on to higher office. They’ve come close -- Frank Bellotti, Tom Reilly, and Scott Harshbarger -- but no such luck. Watch out, Maura Healey.
■ Doug Rubin: It’s hard for me to even write these words -- Doug Rubin and loser -- in the same sentence. Rubin, the Coakley campaign’s chief strategist, had been on such a winning streak. He helped elect Governor Deval Patrick and US Senator Elizabeth Warren. He came so very close Tuesday to redeeming Coakley from her humiliating US Senate defeat to Scott Brown. Maybe 2014 is just not Rubin’s year. He also tried to help Warren Tolman become AG and Suffolk Downs get a casino license. Tolman lost in the primary, and the East Boston racetrack couldn’t best Steve Wynn’s project in Everett.
■ Deval Patrick: After the primary, the governor threw himself into the race, eager to derail another Baker gubernatorial run. The Republican had tried unsuccessfully to unseat the governor in 2010. A Coakley victory would have made it easier to preserve Patrick’s own legacy -- critical if he ends up launching a presidential bid. Now, in addition to looking for a job after he leaves office, he’ll need to work at keeping the feel-good Patrick narrative alive.
■ Newspaper endorsements: Baker picked up nearly all of the major endorsements, including one from the Boston Herald and my employer, the Boston Globe. Didn’t seem to help him that much. So maybe it’s true. No one reads – or cares – about what editorial boards have to say in an age when everyone has the ability to plaster their opinions on social media.
■ Partners HealthCare: Baker has said he doesn’t like Partners’ proposed settlement with Coakley, saying more can be done to rein in its market clout. Coakley, in her role as attorney general, has defended the settlement, which would allow Partners to add three hospitals but with price caps and other restrictions. If a judge approves the deal, it would be up to the new AG to enforce it. With so much attention on Partners, which owns Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, expect the system to remain under the microscope.