- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - The party is over in the Massachusetts governor’s office - at least for Democrats. But it’s just starting for supporters of the state’s casino gambling law, who won their high-stakes bid to keep it on the books.

Those are just some of the highlights from Tuesday’s election. Here’s everything you need to know about the outcome:

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A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR

Republican Charlie Baker squeaked out a narrow victory over Democrat Martha Coakley, putting the Massachusetts governor’s office into GOP hands for the first time since Mitt Romney left in 2007.



Baker, the former head of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Coakley, the state’s attorney general, waged a hard-fought and expensive race to succeed Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who opted not to seek a third term. Coakley conceded Wednesday morning, recalling the “roller coaster” of election night in an emotional address to supporters.

“We were up, we were down,” she said, calling on all Massachusetts voters to get behind Baker.

Baker, 57, had to overcome a few self-inflicted stumbles and criticism from Coakley and Democrats that he was out of touch with ordinary voters.

For Coakley, the loss is especially bitter: In 2010, she was heavily favored to win the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Democratic icon Edward Kennedy. But she squandered a hefty lead in the polls before losing to Republican Scott Brown, then a little-known state senator.

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CASINOS

Voters refused to repeal the state’s 2011 casino gambling law. That came as a relief to those bankrolling projects that were approved or already under construction in Springfield, Everett and Plainville. Repeal literally could have stopped bulldozers in their tracks.

A committee financed largely by casino companies raised nearly $12 million for a campaign to defeat the referendum, dwarfing the $674,000 raised by the group Repeal the Casino Deal, according to filings with the state office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Voters also said no to expanding the state’s bottle deposit law to include other beverage containers such as bottled water and sports drinks. They repealed a law that ties future increases in the state’s gasoline tax to inflation, and voted to require mandatory paid sick time for most Massachusetts workers - a measure considered one of the strongest of its kind in the nation.

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CONGRESS

Massachusetts’ congressional delegation stays totally Democratic.

Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Edward Markey easily defeated Republican Brian Herr, a former Hopkinton selectman. Markey won a special election last year after John Kerry left the Senate to become U.S. secretary of state, and Markey was re-elected Tuesday to a full six-year term.

Republicans trying to crack the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation had focused on the 6th District north of Boston. But Democrat Seth Moulton, an Iraq War veteran who upset U.S. Rep. John Tierney in the primary, defeated Republican Richard Tisei, who had narrowly lost to Tierney in 2012. The race attracted national attention, with more than $4.1 million spent by outside groups on both sides, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Democratic U.S. Rep. William Keating won re-election, defeating Republican challenger John Chapman in Massachusetts’ 9th Congressional District.

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OTHER STATEWIDE CANDIDATES

Democrat Maura Healey, a former assistant attorney general, defeated Republican attorney John Miller to succeed Coakley as attorney general. Healey becomes the nation’s first openly gay attorney general.

Democrat Deb Goldberg defeated Republican Mike Heffernan and Green-Rainbow candidate Ian Jackson to succeed state Treasurer Steven Grossman, who lost to Coakley in the Democratic primary for governor.

William Galvin, the five-term Democratic secretary of state, defeated Republican David D’Arcangelo and Daniel Factor of the Green-Rainbow Party. And Democratic state Auditor Suzanne Bump won re-election against Republican Patricia Saint Aubin and Green Rainbow member MK Merelice.

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LEGISLATURE

Republicans made some gains in the Massachusetts Senate, winning over two seats that had been held by powerful Democrats.

State Rep. Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth defeated Democrat Matthew Patrick and Libertarian Heather Mullins in the race for the seat now held by Senate President Therese Murray, who is retiring. Murray has represented the district since 1992.

Incumbent Democratic state Sen. Richard Moore, a member of Murray’s leadership team who holds the title of President Pro Tempore of the Senate, was unseated by Republican state Rep. Ryan Fattman of Sutton. Moore had held the seat since 1996.

The GOP will occupy six of the 40 seats in the Senate.

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VOTER VOICES

In Somerville, Robin McCoy, who describes herself as a “big ‘D’ Democrat,” ultimately voted against her party in the governor’s race. She said she doesn’t agree with all of Baker’s views, but added: “Baker just came across smoother, easier to listen to.”

In Worcester, Dante Comparetto voted for Coakley. “I don’t think we have enough women in government, and I’d like my daughter to see more women leaders,” he said.

But across town, Dianne Bruce, 56, rode her bike to the polls to vote for Baker. “Business creates jobs,” she said, “and Charlie Baker gets business.”

In Beverly, Eugene Berman, an independent, voted for Democrats including Moulton for Congress. “I like how he served his country with dignity, his education. He’s a go-getter.”

Berman said he believes Moulton, a former Marine, will focus on veterans’ needs and help improve the broken health care system serving veterans.

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Associated Press writers Steve LeBlanc, Bob Salsberg and Philip Marcelo in Boston and Amy Crawford in Worcester contributed to this report.

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