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November 8, 2012

Mirra's win seen as state GOP's only bright spot

Mass. Republicans faced widespread rout in election

BOSTON — House Republicans on Tuesday relinquished some gains they made during the 2010 elections, adding to a miserable showing across Massachusetts where the GOP were swept in Congressional races, lost the U.S. Senate seat held by Scott Brown and saw former Gov. Mitt Romney edged aside by President Barack Obama.

The scorecard for Republicans was so bad yesterday that it appeared the pickup of an open House seat by West Newbury’s Leonard Mirra represented the party’s biggest victory of the night. While a few Republicans in the House and Senate defeated challengers, three House GOP members were defeated by newcomers and Republicans failed to beat a single incumbent Democrat in House and Senate races.

Mirra beat Democrat Barry Fogel in a race to represent a conservative district that has been held for the past 18 years by Democrat Harriett Stanley of West Newbury. The district includes Newbury, West Newbury, Merrimac, Groveland, Georgetown, and parts of Haverhill and Boxford.

The blue rout underscored a big problem for down-ballot Republicans in Massachusetts — a heavy turnout among Democrats in presidential elections every four years makes it even tougher for the GOP to win here.

Senate Democrats will keep their 36-4 numerical advantage over Republicans in the 2013-2014 session and House Republicans will enter the session with 30 members, rather than the current 33. One hundred and thirty Democrats are scheduled to be sworn in as House members on Jan. 2, 2013. The numbers mean Gov. Deval Patrick during his last two years in office will retain the comfort of working with large Democratic majorities in both branches.

Senate President Therese Murray brushed aside one the most significant Republican challenges on Tuesday, easily outpolling Sandwich’s Tom Keyes, who had attempted to topple Murray by linking her to a series of ethical scandals that downed other Statehouse politicians in the past few years.

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