Republican Charlie Baker is the new Massachusetts governor, following the state’s tightest governor’s race in recent memory.
Ninety-nine percent of precincts reported that Baker led to his oppnoent, Democrat Martha Coakley, by about 40,000 votes- 48.4 percent to 46.6 percent.
Coakley, of Medford, refused to concede to Baker Tuesday night, instead telling her supporters to go home just past midnight. Regardless, several media outlets began calling the election for Baker. Coakley’s campaign said it wanted to count all the votes before she conceded.
However, Coakley called Baker at 8:15 a.m. to congratulate him on the win, accoring to the Boston Globe.
On Tuesday’s ballot questions, Massachusetts voters agreed to move ahead with casinos and institute a new earned sick time law, while repealing a 2013 law indexing the gas tax to inflation and rejecting a proposal to expand the bottle deposit law. Fifty-three percent of voters opted to repeal the gas tax, while 59.5 percent supported paid sick leave. An overwhelming 74.5 percent of voters shut down the bottle bill expansion, while 60 percent of voters were against repealing the casino law.
In 2010, Coakley made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. She has been the attorney general since 2007, and is the first woman to hold the position. In 2010, Baker also fell short of his political goal when he lost a bid for Massachusetts governor.
At Tuesday’s polls, Bostonians had no shortage of opinions regarding the race’s two main contenders.
Randy Dinsmore, a 34-year-old mover from Boston, said he typically votes based on the candidate, not the party. “I feel politics is so beyond us regular people that I end up voting for the person that I don’t like the least,” he said. “I liked Baker better than Coakley. He seemed like he was more in touch, I guess. At least with me.”
He added, “When it comes to politicians, it all seems so crooked. Our best guy just died (Mayor Tom Menino), you know what I mean?”
Sasha Kaufmann, a 31-year-old social worker from Boston, meanwhile, voted for Coakley.
“I identify as a gay person and she’s been very strong for the LGBT community as well her work for equal pay. I also heard a lot about Charlie Baker was trying to restrict the welfare system and I didn’t like that, particularly considering how our economy is today.”
Sophia Foutsitzis, a 19 year-old student at Boston University, said “the Democratic ticket resonates with me both as a woman and a young person.”
“I feel like a lot of things went down these past two years with regards to birth control and women’s rights. That and environmental policies brought me out,” she said.
Foutsitzis said she favored expanding a the bottle deposit in the state and keeping the gas tax as it is, two issues that were featured as ballot questions.
“I did get a little confused regarding the ballot questions, though,” she said. “I’m concerned I didn’t vote for the right thing.”
Democrat Beverley Coniglio, a jeweler who lives near Fenway, said she hoped to keep Republicans out of state office. That, and instituting mandatory sick leave for the majority of businesses in the state drew her to the polls.
“I voted ‘yes’ because I’ve been in that position where you want the sick time,” she said. “I cocktailed for a while, where you’re making $2.50 an hour or whatever, it’s crazy. It’s not fair.”
Husband and wife Jonathan Danforth, 58, and Cynthia Danforth, 55, said they liked Charlie Baker’s private sector experience.
“We need to shake it up,” he said. He added that he did not like Coakley’s campaign fixating on the fisherman story that brought Baker to tears in the last debate.
“Going after the fish thing, that totally turned me off,” he said. “That was a low blow. I thought ‘Who cares?’”
Both Danforths, who run a technology business, were also against opening casinos, and supported the repeal in Question 3.
“We have so many great things going for us, do we really need this?” asked Cynthia.
Christine Yorty, a 53-year-old artist, said she didn’t like Coakley or Baker.
“I don’t know if it’s true but that stuff about him outsourcing jobs? That makes me crazy,’ she said. “And she’s no Deval Patrick.”
She said the state needs to maintain its current gas tax. “Our economy has never tanked as badly as other places in part because we’ve had public money. We need to keep doing that,” she said. “I don’t understand what they’re going to replace that money with.”
Danny McDonald contributed to this report.