As U.S. House Goes Red, Mass. Glows Blue

By Sarah Birnbaum

Nov. 3, 2010

David Flaschenreim, of Boston, and Jose Briceno of Cambridge celebrate at a victory party Tuesday night for Gov. Deval Patrick.

BOSTON -- To the rest of the country, the idea of Democrats partying like it was 2008 after last night's elections probably seems very strange. 
Nationally, Republicans captured control of the U.S. House of Representatives, picking up 55 seats overall -- easily surpassing the 39 needed to win a majority.

But at Patrick campaign headquarters, supporters were jumping up and down, hugging each other, clinking beer bottles and toasting their candidate, Deval Patrick, who won by a seven-point margin. The governor's election was just once element of Massachusetts' resistance of the Republican wave that swept the rest of the country.  Democratic candidates in the Bay State won all the statewide races.

Barry Harriton of Boston, who was decked out in a “Yes We Can" t-shirt from Pres. Obama's 2008 campaign, was thrilled by Massachusetts' evening."People of this state should be incredibly proud," Harriton said. "We listened to all the journalists and all the big nabobs saying, Republicans are going to smash you everywhere.  Not in Massachusetts!”

Still, some inside Patrick’s headquarters weren’t immune to the blues felt by their fellow Democrats in other states. Lalu Fayanju of Cambridge said it made last night’s victory party somewhat bittersweet. 

"I feel like Nancy Pelosi and a lot of other big Democrats put their neck out, and they’re paying for it now, but they did a lot of what we wanted as Democrats," Fayanju said. "And I was happy about that.  So I’m sad that they are paying for basically doing the right thing."

Christine Williams, a campaign volunteer from Roslindale, said she’s concerned about the fate of the Democratic agenda and key initiatives like healthcare reform and climate change legislation. “What I’m worried about is the kind of policies that we’ll have in place with a Republican Congress for a couple of years, what kind of damage will be done by then.  So yeah, I’m really worried,” Williams said.

This isn’t the first Election Day in recent memory when Massachusetts has been out of synch with the national mood. In 1972, Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern lost every state in the nation to Republican Richard Nixon – except for Massachusetts.

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