Final State Primary Results in Braintree Provide Outlook for November Election

The General Election, which includes the presidential contest between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, is on Nov. 6, 2012.

The Braintree results of the Massachusetts State Primary that were finalized on Monday do not change – many of them were running uncontested – but they do give insight into how November might turn out.

Since 2010, when Braintree went for Republican Charlie Baker over Gov. Deval Patrick, the town's status as a bellweather has weakened somewhat, Joe Powers said, but the community remains a good indicator of how the state will vote in certain races.

"It used to be as Braintree went, so went the state," Powers said, pointing to decades of election results from the 1960s on that mirrored Massachusetts voting as whole.

Braintree has significantly more registered Democratic voters than Republican (8,900 vs. 2,799) and even more unenrolled voters (12,673), but also tends to lean conservative, Powers said.

During the special election in 2010 to fill deceased U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat, for example, Scott Brown captured 62 percent of the Braintree vote, compared to Democrat Martha Coakley's 37 percent. Brown took the election statewide by about six points.

Last week, running uncontested in the Republican Primary, Brown garnered 96 percent of the 628 votes cast in Braintree. By comparison, Elizabeth Warren received only 68 percent of the 1,373 votes cast in the Democratic Primary (unenrolled residents could vote in either primary). Twenty-four people also wrote-in Brown's name on Democratic ballots, while no Republicans wrote in Warren.

These numbers indicate a healthier base of support in Braintree for Brown than Warren, Powers said. He has done research into candidates who run uncontested that shows that those who run alone and receive less than 70 percent of the vote could be in trouble when they face an opponent.

"Scott Brown's base is stronger in Braintree than Elizabeth Warren's," Powers said.

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-MA, also running uncontested, captured 86 percent of the vote in Braintree. He will face Republican businessman Joe Selvaggi on Nov. 6.

Other candidates who ran unopposed in Braintree include Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree, who took 73 percent of 1,373 votes cast, Sen. Brian A. Joyce, D-Milton, who took 72 percent and Sen. John F. Keenan, who took 79 percent.

None of those lawmakers have opponents in November. Other categories on the ballots were "blanks" and "all others," also known as write-ins.

Finalizing the primary results was a fairly straightforward process, delayed somewhat by the necessity of counting provisional ballots and ballots coming from Americans living abroad and uniformed service members. There were four of those types of ballots altogether cast last week.

Come November, there will likely be many more ballots like those because of the attention paid to the presidential contest, Powers said, meaning that certified results will come in later for the general election, probably 10 days afterward.


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