Charlie Baker Elected Governor of Massachusetts

Democratic hopeful Martha Coakley conceded to Republican governor-elect Charlie Baker from her headquarters in Somerville, a day after the polls closed.
charlie baker

Portrait by Ken Richardson for “Charlie Baker 2.0

She waited it out—and that was okay with her opponent, Charlie Baker—but on Wednesday morning, hours after the polls closed, Democrat Martha Coakley conceded the race for governor of Massachusetts.

Taking a bow from her campaign headquarters in Somerville and waving to a crowd of supporters, Coakley thanked her campaign staff, volunteers, family, and friends for the hours of energy and time that they put into backing her bid for the gubernatorial seat.

“Although Charlie is going to be our next governor, I think we both won,” she said. “I feel we were both challenged, and I feel we both learned something about ourselves in this race.”

Maintaining her composure until the very end, when she began to tear up as she encouraged other women to pursue their goals and run for state office, Coakley thanked Baker for his “graciousness” both the night of the election, when she asked that they hold off from calling the race until all the votes were tallied, and in the morning, when she eventually called to congratulate him on his win.

“He agreed with me that getting this right was much more important than getting this quickly,” she said, referencing his willingness to wait it out.

Coakley said despite the loss, she believes Baker wants to do a “good job,” and will ultimately “be on the side of the people in Massachusetts.”

“I told him I’m going to hold him to his campaign promises, because I have his cell phone number now,” she joked.

The results of the race were close—almost too close to call—but Baker’s camp felt they had cornered the election around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, as the Republican candidate pulled ahead of Coakley by 30,000 votes, with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting.

Baker took the stage at the Seaport Hotel in front of a rousing crowd in the early morning hours, and announced his decision to hold off on his victory speech until all was said and done.

“In politics and elections, every vote counts,” Baker said. “That’s the way it works, folks, and that’s the way it should work.”

After conceding, Coakley described the rapidly changing election results from the night prior to a children’s story book tale. “We were up, we were down, we were in, we were out,” she said. “It was a little bit like a Dr. Seuss tale with those numbers coming in.”

But in the end she acknowledged the victor. “There’s only one winner, and I understand that Charlie Baker won.”

Governor Deval Patrick and Senator Elizabeth Warren, both of whom went to bat for Coakley during campaign events leading up to the election, were also present during the concession speech.

“They, among many elected officials, went above and beyond to make sure that in the last few days in particular, in this hotly contested race, we would get our vote out and get our message out,” said Coakley, also thanking Mayor Marty Walsh and Attorney General-elect Maura Healey.

When asked what should would have changed about the race, and her election campaign, Coakley said quite frankly, and without hesitation, “not a thing.”

“I think we did everything we could have done, and we left nothing on the table. And look, there’s only one winner,” she said. “It was close. And it was a good message to all of us. Every vote matters…everything we did in coming that close was the work of our campaign, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

So what’s next for the two-term Attorney General?

“Lunch with my husband,” she said. “Then I’ll take a walk with Jackson and Jefferson,” her labrador retrievers.

She said whatever comes down the pipeline in the future, she will be better at it, thanks to the lessons she learned during this race.


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com