November 9, 2012

New England Republicans have 'nightmare' election

The Republican Party lost every major election for Congress and governor in New England on Tuesday.

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Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon

AP File Photo

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Charlie Summers

Staff File Photo

"We're New England Yankees, and we think a little differently," Shays said. "The people we represent focus more not on ideology, but on common sense."

While much of the region has voted heavily Democratic in recent years, voter registration numbers show a more nuanced picture.

Voters unaffiliated with any party outnumber Democrats and Republicans in all the New England states that collect that information, representing 40 to nearly 53 percent of the electorate, depending on the state.

Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans everywhere but New Hampshire. Only Vermont doesn't track such information.

To appeal to independents in Massachusetts, Brown positioned himself as a moderate, pro-abortion rights Republican and one of the most bipartisan members of the Senate. He ran TV ads that pictured himself with Obama, while barely uttering Romney's name. It didn't work. He lost by 8 points to Warren.

"They were able to label him and convince enough voters that he would be the 51st vote in the Senate to reverse successes that women had made over the years," said Gene Hartigan, a Republican consultant and former state party director.

Rhode Island congressional candidate Doherty argued that the state would be better served by having a Republican in the House, and said he could exert his influence to moderate the national party's positions.

Voter Lisa Harden of East Providence, R.I., didn't buy it.

"He's a Republican, and he's going to follow the other Republicans," she said Tuesday after voting for the Democrat.

Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said the national party has no incentive to care about New England because population has shifted to the South and West, and that's where the party sees its future.

New England's Republicans are "going to have to get used to it, because it's hard to see this changing anytime soon," West said.

But some in the party took a more optimistic view.

"The major problems of the day, our crushing debt and bad economy, were not fixed by this election, and these problems will re-emerge bigger than ever," said Jerry Labriola Jr., chairman of the Connecticut Republicans. "It's inevitable that the voters will need to turn to pro-growth, common-sense solutions offered by Republicans."Staff File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a town hall meeting at Portland Yacht Services in February. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, did not capture a single electoral vote in New England on Tuesday.


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