11/08/2006 09:49 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Deval Patrick's Triumph

On a night when Democrats take back the House and now seem likely to
claim the Senate as well, few eyes are turned to reliably blue
Massachusetts where Democrats control the entire Congressional
delegation, Ted Kennedy extends his 44-year run in the Senate, and
the governorship reverted to Democrats. But Deval Patrick's triumph
to become the nation's second black governor, after Virginia's Doug
Wilder, shouldn't be overlooked. Patrick ran one of the best races of
the year, defeating a formidable Democratic primary field including
the state's attorney general. He defeated his Republican opponent,
Lt. Governor Kerry Healy, by a stunning 20 percent. It's easy to see
Massachusetts as a liberal redoubt and in many ways it is but that
hardly made Patrick's win an easy one. First, the state's racial
history isn't so pure. Anyone who remembers Boston's busing crisis in
the mid-1970s--flicked at most recently in Marin Scorcese's The
Departed--would be pretty amazed to see Patrick win so handily.
Second, the state has had a slew of GOP governors--including for the
last 16 years--who are seen as a vital balance to the state's one-
party rule. Democrats don't walk to the governorship here. Plus, this
was Patrick's first election!