Following a heated and tight race, Republican Charlie Baker has been elected as the next governor of Massachusetts.
"We look forward to being as helpful as possible during the transition to ensure that the functions of state government transitions smoothly and we are excited about supporting the success of our soon to be new governor," Governor Deval Patrick said to the public on Wednesday aftternoon.
Patrick and Baker met privately before addressing the public about the transition of government in Massachusetts.
Democrat Martha Coakley conceded to Baker Wednesday morning, saying she "could not be prouder of the race we ran and the work we did.”
"We always knew it was going to be a close race, and it was," said Baker. "We're really looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work."
Coakley called Baker at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday to congratulate the new governor-elect. She spoke to press with her campaign staff at 11 a.m. at her Somerville campaign headquarters.
Coakley said that she wished to thank Baker for his graciousness, and that even though Baker won, she wanted to feel like both of them won in the finale.
She added that she was proud to be part of a state that allows so much opportunity and that she trusts that Baker wants to be a good governor for the state.
She said, "I am so proud to be a Democrat in Massachusetts, in a state that cares about its people.”
Baker, who as of Wednesday morning had a lead of 38,000 votes, agreed to wait until later Wednesday before formally declaring victory to give Coakley time to review the returns.
Coakley declined to concede after the ballots came in showing Baker with a narrow lead. She asked her supporters to go home for the night.
Baker will become the state's first GOP leader since Mitt Romney left in 2007. He replaces Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who opted not to seek a third term in office.
Baker addressed his reporters at about 1:15 a.m. and said he had spoken with Coakley.
"She said she really wants to wait until the morning to see the final results and that's fine. In politics, in elections every vote counts and I'm perfectly fine with giving her until the morning to see the results come in," Baker said. "That's the way it works folks and that's the way it should work."
Baker's victory will return the state's top political office to the GOP, and with it, he earns a measure of political redemption. Baker, the former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and a top official in the administrations of Republican Govs. William Weld and Paul Cellucci, lost to Patrick four years ago.
Coakley also had been looking for a comeback. She lost to Republican Scott Brown during the 2010 special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Democratic stalwart Edward Kennedy.
The race was one of the closest in recent memory in Massachusetts and much closer than many observers had anticipated.
Baker had worked hard to appeal to the independent and moderate Democratic voters who are key to any statewide race in Massachusetts. He vowed to hold the lid on taxes, increase the number of charter schools and use tax credits to reward businesses that hire welfare recipients and veterans.
He raised more money than Coakley - an advantage that was magnified by the more than $8.6 million spent by outside groups supporting his candidacy, nearly all of it from the Republican Governors Association.
Three independents, Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively and Jeff McCormick, were also on Tuesday's ballot. Falchuk got a little more than 3 percent of the vote. Lively and McCormick each got about 1 percent.
Democratic Sen. Edward Markey won his first full six-year term after prevailing in a special election last year to finish out John Kerry's term. He defeated Republican Brian Herr.
The state's congressional delegation remained all-Democratic.
In a hard-fought race in the state's 6th Congressional District, first-time candidate Democrat Seth Moulton defeated Republican Richard Tisei after upsetting Democratic Rep. John Tierney in the primary.
"Now I return to public service, in a different venue but with that same commitment to serve you and to serve our great country," Moulton told supporters.
In the 9th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. William Keating fended off a challenge from Republican John Chapman.
Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas won re-election in the 3rd Congressional District, defeating Republican Roseann Wofford.
In the race to succeed Coakley as attorney general, Democrat Maura Healey defeated Republican John Miller, becoming the first openly gay attorney general in the country.
Democratic state Auditor Suzanne Bump beat Republican Patricia Saint Aubin and Green-Rainbow member MK Merelice.
In the open contest to replace Democratic state Treasurer Steve Grossman, Democrat Deb Goldberg defeated Republican Mike Heffernan and Green-Rainbow candidate Ian Jackson.
Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, fended off a challenge from Republican David D'Arcangelo and Daniel Factor of the Green-Rainbow Party.
Voters also repealed a law that ties future increases in the state's gasoline tax to inflation.