In the state’s most dramatic race last week, Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Republican senator Scott Brown by taking overwhelming majorities of the vote in Boston and surrounding communities.
Statewide, Warren received 1,678,408 votes. Brown received 1,449,180, or 229,228 votes fewer than Warren. That’s pretty close, as Massachusetts races go.
Warren, however, clobbered Brown in a group of densely populated northeast cities. In the area comprising Boston, Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Somerville and Watertown, Warren received over 234,000 more votes than did Brown. If one were to add up the votes in all the remaining cities and towns in the Commonwealth, Brown had more votes than Warren by a narrow margin.
The southwest suburbs of Boston, by and large, went strongly for Brown. The incumbent took 55 percent or more of the vote in Bridgewater, Canton, Easton, Foxboro, Norton, Norfolk, Walpole and Wrentham.
Sharon – unlike most of its neighboring communities – went for Warren, giving her 57 percent of the vote. Brown did induce a fair number of Sharonites to split their ticket, though. The Wrentham native got 43 percent of the vote here in town, outperforming Mitt Romney by eight points.
The far west of the state, with its many college towns and Democrat communities, went for Warren. The heart of the state – Worcester aside – went big for Scott Brown. The Cape and south shore were divided.
In the wake of his defeat, Brown’s future suddenly is the subject of much speculation. Will he seek the Massachusetts governorship? Despite being a heavily Democrat state, Massachusetts voters have a history of getting behind moderate Republican governors – Bill Weld and Mitt Romney being the most recent examples.
Could Brown be headed to Washington to serve in the President’s cabinet? Obama has made some effort (conservatives claim minimal) to invite Republicans into his circle. As one of the former senators with a documented record of bi-partisanship, giving – or even just offering – Brown a job in the administration might be something the President – who is being attacked for being too partisan – just might consider.
Nationally, Brown has potential to become a leading figure among those that are calling for a more moderate GOP. His bi-partisan record (and Massachusetts connections) probably take him out of the running of the Republican nomination for President in 2016, but he is a pretty good retail politician and he might do well in the chicken dinner circuit, speaking at Republican gatherings across the US to talk about how he almost defeated a heavily-financed Democrat in a state that went big for the President.
Whatever you think of his politics, he has a very good story.
As for Warren, she heads to Washington knowing that historically, being elected a Democrat senator from Massachusetts in recent decades has been akin to a lifetime appointment. Ted Kennedy served in the Senate for about four decades, and John Kerry has never been seriously challenged.