Valley Votes Baker; Coakley Concedes Wed. A.M.

Merrimack Valley residents again solidly supported Republican Charles D. Baker for Massachusetts governor. Attorney General Martha Coakley called Baker at 8:15 this morning to concede after reviewing final ballot counts.

With the election too close to call at 1:30 this morning, Coakley called Baker to let him know she would not be conceding until the final vote tally. He told his supporters he understands her position after having lost four years ago to Democrat Deval Patrick.

Haverhill went for Baker 9,960 to 7,624 votes. Cape Ann, Cape Cod, the Islands, Greater Boston and western Massachusetts were the holdouts for Coakley, while the rest of the Commonwealth was ready to celebrate a Republican gubernatorial win. A sixteen-year reign of Republican governors was interrupted eight years ago by Patrick who did not seek reelection this year.

Baker endorsed Haverhill School Committeeman Shaun Toohey in the latter's bid to take the First Essex state senate seat.

As Haverhill Goes, So Goes the Commonwealth

As to the four ballot questions, a roughly 3 to 2 majority of voters in Haverhill chose to repeal automatic gas tax increases indexed to the annual rate of inflation. State voters also agreed and repealed the measure 53 to 47 percent.

An overwhelming majority in Haverhill rejected a proposed expansion of the 30-year-old bottle deposit law to water and iced tea bottles, among others. Haverhill voters rejected the proposal 5,405 to 439 and, statewide, it was rejected 73 to 27 percent.

A ballot question to reject the legislature’s approval of casino gambling was turned down by a greater than 2 to 1 margin.

Also, by a mere 31 votes, Haverhill voters approved a referendum to require employers with 11 or more employees to provide earned sick time. Statewide, residents were a bit more generous—adopting the measure 60 to 40 percent.