2018 Midterm Elections in MA
For political junkies, it’s a very exciting time of year. The race for control of Congress is in full swing, as Republicans are fighting hard to push back against an insurgent “Blue Wave” from the Democrats. Here in Massachusetts, popular incumbent Republican Governor Charlie Baker is seeking re-election in one of the most Democratic states in the Union. Additionally, there are three ballot measures in Massachusetts ranging on a variety of issues. Everything you need to know before Election Day is broken down below.
Voter Registration & Essential Information:
In Massachusetts, the deadline for registration is October 17. Early voting opens on October 22, and lasts until Election Day, November 6. You can request an absentee ballot online through the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website (only for Massachusetts voters) in English and in Spanish.
More information is provided on the page.
If you are unsure of where your polling location is, click here (only for Massachusetts voters).
If you live in a state other than Massachusetts, are seeking information about your polling place, click here.
You can also find links to other relevant voting information through the National Association of Secretaries of State’s website.
If you are a first-time voter, you may be asked (if you’re voting at the polls) for personal identification. If you’re not a first time voter, no identification of any kind is required.
Massachusetts Governor’s Race: A General Overview
When Charlie Baker won election to the Massachusetts Governorship in 2014, his margin of victory was statistically minute. He only won by approximately 40,000 votes against former state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Polls leading up to Election Day gave Baker a slight lead, but still well within the margin of error.
But now, in his race against former state Secretary of Administration and Finance, Jay Gonzalez, Baker’s lead in the polls is anything but minute. A poll conducted by The Boston Globe and Suffolk University found Baker with a 27% lead over Gonzalez, and a prior poll found Baker with a 40% lead.Nonetheless, national pollsters and data firms, including the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, rate the Massachusetts Governor’s Race as “Solid R” (R denoting Republican).
About the Candidates:
Charlie Baker: Running as the incumbent Governor, Baker is commonly known as a moderate Republican, who has distanced himself from national Republicans. Many moderate Republicans are described as fiscally conservative, and socially liberal or moderate. Baker’s stance on a variety of issues certainly falls into that description.
You may have already seen a spectrum of TV and online ads sponsored by the Baker and Politio (his Lieutenant Governor) campaign. These ads highlight multiple issues, including the Governor’s response to handling the opioid epidemic, and the MBTA Green Line Extension Project. Their campaign is strategically highlighting issues that will appeal to urban, suburban, and rural communities, in what is a likely effort to win as many voters as they can.
Jay Gonzalez: A Democrat, Gonzalez is challenging Baker in a close-watched race. In a few states, Democrats are challenging Republican Governors in traditionally Democratic strongholds, like Massachusetts and Maryland. Some, including “John Frey, a state legislator and Republican National Committee member from Connecticut,” don’t see this as anything new. Gonzalez is running his campaign on a progressive platform, something which might have a greater appeal to voters in strong Democratic counties such as Suffolk.
The Gonzalez campaign is running on investing more in education, including early education childcare. Additionally, like many liberal and progressive candidates across the country, Gonzalez highlights a single-payer health care system as the best way to fix the healthcare system.
Lastly, while 266,505 more people turned out to vote for the Democrats than Republicans (via The New York Times) in the Gubernatorial Primary, the race will still likely be won by Baker, who has branded himself as a moderate, bipartisan Governor.
Massachusetts Senate Race: A General Overview
Progressive firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren, seeking re-election to be Massachusetts’ Junior Senator, is running against Republican Geoff Diehl. Warren has been a consistent vocal critic of the Trump administration and many of its policies. Diehl, a conservative Republican, currently represents the Abington, Whitman, and East Bridgewater areas in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Warren, who unseated former Republican Senator Scott Brown in 2012, only won by approximately 6%. Brown was popular, given he held a slight incumbency advantage, but Warren ultimately won. This year, it’s Warren who has a strong incumbency advantage. Every poll released since June 19 of this year, shows Warren with at least a 22% lead over Diehl. The race is rated by the Cook Political Report as “Solid D” (D denoting Democrat).
Although she has repeatedly denied it, recently, Warren didn’t dismiss rumors of running for President in 2020. Saying, “So here’s what I promise: After Nov. 6, I will take a hard look at running for president,” Warren certainly is putting the option on the table.
Notable House of Representatives Races:
The 7th Congressional District:
Ayanna Pressley shocked the nation on September 4, when she essentially unseated Representative Michael Capuano in the Democratic Primary. She was one of only several candidates to pull a stunning upset over an incumbent in Democratic Primaries this year, similarly to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win over Representative Joe Crowley in New York.
Given that the 7th District is one of the state’s (and New England’s) most diverse congressional districts, it comes as no surprise that Pressley has no Republican challenger. Similarly, in the state’s 1st, 4th, and 8th districts, Democratic Representatives Richard Neal, Joe Kennedy III, and Stephen Lynch, respectively, have no opponents.
Every other Massachusetts Congressional race, like in previous elections, will almost certainly go solidly to the Democratic candidates.
You can check out the latest polls here.
New polls are uploaded daily, and you can find polling information in House, Senate, & Governors races.
Massachusetts State Ballot Questions: What’s At Stake?
This year, Massachusetts has three ballot questions, which you can read here.
All laws “would take effect on January 1, 2019,” if passed.
Question 1, according to the office of the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, “would limit how many patients could be assigned to each registered nurse in Massachusetts hospitals and certain other health care facilities.” It also notes that the law would be temporarily suspended in the case of a “public health emergency.”
Per the Secretary’s Office:
“A YES VOTE would limit the number of patients that could be assigned to one registered nurse in hospitals and certain other health care facilities.
“A NO VOTE would make no change in current laws relative to patient-to-nurse limits.
Question 2, according to the office of the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, would create a citizens commission to consider and recommend potential amendments to the United States Constitution to establish that corporations do not have the same Constitutional rights as human beings and that campaign contributions and expenditures may be regulated.”
Per the Secretary’s Office:
“A YES VOTE would create a citizens commission to advance an amendment to the United States Constitution to limit the influence of money in elections and establish that corporations do not have the same rights as human beings.
“A NO VOTE would not create this commission.
And finally, Question 3, according to the office of the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth: “This law adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort, or amusement. Such grounds also include race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, disability, and ancestry.”
Per the Secretary’s Office:
“A YES VOTE would keep in place the current law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation.
“A NO VOTE would repeal this provision of the public accommodation law.