Despite a mediocre term in office, Massachusetts voters easily re-elected Deval Patrick to a second term as Governor last night.
While Republicans were triumphant throughout the country, they were shut out in the Bay State. This will no doubt embolden Democrats as they look to regain “Ted Kennedy’s seat” from Scott Brown in 2012.
The question now, of course, is who will challenge Brown in two years time. I would put my bet on none other than Deval Patrick. He is surely no Martha Coakley. One might not think a great deal of his legislative achievements, but Patrick is a first class campaigner and Massachusetts Democrats are going to need that when they face off against the personable and popular Brown.
Just as Patrick isn’t Martha Coakley, Brown is neither Charlie Baker nor Kerry Healey or for that matter any other Republican in Massachusetts. A week before the vote, I attended a forum for Massachusetts GOP congressional hopefuls including Sean Bielat and Jeff Perry. While Bielat and Perry the other candidates made a good accounting of themselves in front of a friendly audience, there was something missing. They all lacked Brown’s populist touch and innate charisma. It should be noted that Brown nearly closed the gender gap with female voters. His good looks certainly didn’t hurt him. I mean even Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg wouldn’t walk out on him. Or put another way, I don’t think Bill Hudak could have gotten away with posing nude for Cosmopolitan. Even if Coakley did run the most inept senatorial campaign in American electoral history one could still make the case that she might have pulled it off had she run against anyone other than Brown.
All of this to say that Democrats in Massachusetts will need a big bat against Brown and as of right now Deval Patrick carries the biggest stick.