It was sooo close. 48% to 47%. It was almost 1:30 Wednesday morning before Charlie Baker felt confident to claim victory in the race for Governor of Massachusetts. It was 8:15 that morning before Martha Coakley conceded the race. Out of more than 2 million votes cast –just 40,040 votes separated the winner and the second-place finisher, according to the still-unofficial final numbers from the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office. Charlie Baker is the Governor-Elect. Baker’s the winner…but look way, way down the vote tally for Tuesday night and you’ll find Evan Falchuk at 3:3% with roughly 70 thousand votes. Not even close to the vote total of the winner — but still Falchuk and his supporters won something on Tuesday night.
Unlike most non-major party, “independent” candidates who file their petitions to get on the ballot, campaign, maybe get invited to a debate or two and then disappear after Election Day — Evan Falchuk chose to file his candidacy under the banner of something he called the “United Independent Party”. By that simple act, his candidacy had the possibility of creating a totally new political party in the state and perhaps make a lasting mark on Massachusetts politics. All he had to do was gain 3% or more of the vote on Nov. 4. It was uncertain he’s make it during much of the campaign — as most polls showed him hovering right around or below the 3% mark. Then he appeared in a couple of televised debates(including ours in Springfield) and he garnered a little interest and came up over 5% in a subsequent poll. His numbers wavered again as Election day neared and it was nip and tuck all through Election Night and into the day after. Finally, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections division released their un-official final tally of the vote — which isn’t likely to change very much — and lo and behold–Evan Falchuk had captured 3.3% of the vote and a new political party was born in the Baystate!
“So what?” you say? “Big Deal”, you say? Well, it is a big deal because roughly 53% of Massachusetts voters choose not to enroll in either major party — choose to be “independent” — when the register to vote. That’s a big potential audience that would seem poised to listen to someone ready to organize the independents into a real, potent political force here. Evan Falchuk plans to start working toward the 2016 legislative races — seeking candidates to run for State Senate and House of Representative seats to start establishing his party at the vaunted “grass roots” level. If even a handful of United Independent party candidates can win — or come close in 2016 — even 3 or 4 of them– it will make news and make people take notice and the United Independents will be established.
He’s also already out talking with the media about his new party. We’ve been in touch with his office and he’ll be back with us on “The State We’re In” soon.
I think it’s a pretty safe bet (in this state that will now have casino gaming) that Evan Falchuk is planning to be back on the ballot for Governor in 2018 – more experienced and this time with a young-but-established political party behind this time. Stay tuned!