Deval Patrick wins re-election

Associated Press | 11/3/2010, 6:09 a.m.
In this Associated Press photograph, Gov. Deval Patrick is seen shortly before casting his ballot early Tuesday morning....
In this Associated Press photograph, Gov. Deval Patrick is seen shortly before casting his ballot early Tuesday morning. The democratic governor won a tough race against GOP challenger Charles Baker and bucked a national anti-incumbent trend.

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick bucked the anti-incumbent, pro-Republican trend and won a second term Tuesday with the help of some of the political advisers who hope to do the same in two years for his friend President Barack Obama.

Patrick, a black Democrat with an Ivy League resume that resembles Obama’s, defeated Republican Charles Baker, a former health care executive, Tim Cahill, the state treasurer and independent candidate and Jill Stein, the Green-Rainbow Party candidate.  

With 92 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Patrick had 49 percent to Baker’s 42 percent. Cahill was in third place with 8 percent and Stein with 1 percent.  

The Republican Governors Association, hoping to knock off the president’s fellow Chicagoan and Harvard Law alumnus, spent millions on anti-Patrick and anti-Cahill ads.

Baker attacked Patrick for eight tax hikes — including a 25 percent increase in the state sales tax — and a projected $2 billion deficit. Patrick countered by citing investments in health care, public education and emerging industries such as clean energy and life sciences.

Patrick, a 53-year-old married father of two daughters, rose from childhood poverty, attended Massachusetts’ prestigious Milton Academy, Harvard College and Harvard Law on scholarship, and served in the Clinton administration Justice Department.

After a corporate law career, he made his first bid for elective office in 2006 with the help of Chicago political consultants David Axelrod and David Plouffe, who would go on to run Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

After a rocky start triggered by an expensive office redecoration and pricey upgrade to a Cadillac for his official transportation, Patrick settled into the governor’s job but found himself coping with the national recession. A reluctant cost-cutter, he nonetheless trimmed more than $4 billion in state spending and worked with a Democratic Legislature to deliver four on-time budgets.

In seeking re-election, Patrick cast his campaign not as a quest for personal accomplishment, but as repayment for his free education.

“I’m grateful, and all I’m trying to do is give back the same better chance that I got,” he said.

Baker gave up a nearly $2 million salary at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care to run for Patrick’s $140,000-a-year job as governor. Cahill had to withstand twin embarrassments: His campaign manager and two other senior advisers quit in late September, followed a week later by his running mate, Paul Loscocco.

The four candidates made their final pitch to voters Monday, with Patrick trying to fend off a serious challenge from Republican Baker amid an anti-incumbent, pro-GOP wave sweeping the country.

Cahill remained a warrior until the end, shaking commuters’ hands before sunrise and carrying on a largely solitary fight after the defection of his running mate and top campaign advisers.

Stein underscored her outsider’s credentials by making only one public appearance on the eve of the election.

“I knew four years ago that we would face headwinds,” Patrick told an evening rally in the city’s Roslindale neighborhood. “I knew that we’d have the headwinds that come with being a newcomer, trying to break in and trying to move the ball forward and trying to change the way business is done on Beacon Hill. What I didn’t expect was a global economic collapse that would sweep Massachusetts up as it has the whole country.”