Big turnout in ‘Patrick territory’

Rebeca Oliveira

JP voters turned out en masse on Tuesday to re-elect Gov. Deval Patrick, with 50 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. Although he solidly beat Republican challenger Charlie Baker statewide on Tuesday, Patrick outright trounced him in heavily Democratic Jamaica Plain by an enormous margin, getting up to 95 percent of the vote in some precincts.

Patrick campaigned here frequently, headlining fund-raisers on Parkside and Pondside in recent months. He had a final get-out-the-vote rally hosted by Mayor Tom Menino at nearby Adams Park in Roslindale on Monday evening before the Nov. 2 election.

“Tremendous credit is due to the organization of the Patrick campaign,” JP resident and former co-chair of the Ward 19 Democratic Committee Howard Leibowitz said on Wednesday.

Leibowitz, who was not involved in elections here this year, added that the results make sense given that JP was one of the first places Patrick’s support came from when he ran the first time. “That support never really stopped,” he said. “JP is Patrick territory.”

Jill Stein of the Green Rainbow party did little better here than her 1.26 percent of the vote statewide, while Independent candidate and former state Treasurer Tim Cahill did about as well here as Stein. They both struggled to break 3 percent of the vote in JP.

JP had above average turnout, with over 60 percent of registered voters taking ballots in several precincts, and no precinct bringing in fewer than 35 percent. The citywide turnout was 44 percent.

The Woodbourne and Forest Hills neighborhoods joined the rest of the Ninth Congressional District, much of it in the suburbs, to re-elect Democrat Stephen Lynch to Congress. Independent Phil Dunkelbarger fared better than Republican Tea Party fan Vernon Harrison in one Forest Hills district, though Harrison walked away with nearly 15 percent of the overall vote, compared with Dunkelbarger’s 5 percent.

Jamaica Plain and the majority of Massachusetts did not agree at all on Question 1, which proposed the removal of sales tax on alcoholic drinks. JP voted solidly against it, with most precincts having percentages in the 70s and 80s in support of the tax. Question 1 passed statewide with 52 percent of voters against the tax.

Question 2 sought to repeal an existing state law that makes it easier for developers to build affordable housing. Question 3 tried to reduce the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.

Questions 2 and 3 were soundly defeated in JP as well as statewide. Very few precincts in JP voted with fewer than 80 percent against either of these questions, and they were both defeated statewide with over 55 percent of voters against.

Ballot questions 4, 5 and 6 were not officially publicized before election day, surprising JP
voters in several precincts. They were non-binding initiatives—officially known as “public policy questions.”

“We did not put them on the web site this year,” Brian McNiff, a spokesperson for the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office, told the Gazette on the phone, nor were they available in print prior to election day. “They would be on the sample ballots at each precinct,” available on election day, he said.

A fourth ballot question instructing state Reps. Liz Malia and Jeffrey Sánchez to vote for single payer health care won in JP and the other 13 representative districts where it was on the ballot with 73 percent of the vote.

Question 5, which parts of JP voted on, instructed Sánchez, along with other state representatives, to vote in favor of a non-binding resolution that calls for religious equality for all, specifically non-Jewish Palestinians in Israel. It passed with 66 percent overall, with a nearly identical tally in JP.

Question 6 asked voters in parts of JP if Sánchez should be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow patients to possess, grow, and purchase marijuana for medical use. It passed with 66 percent in the JP precincts.

Other Democrats on the local final ballot here were unopposed, including: US Congressman Mike Capuano, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, Malia and Sánchez.

Democrat Mike Rush, now a state rep., beat Republican Brad Williams for the state senate seat vacated by Marian Walsh with 78 percent of the votes. He will represent one precinct in JP.

Jamaica Plain isn’t done voting this month. The election to fill the vacant District 6 City Council set will be on Tues., Nov. 16 here. [See related article.]

David Taber and Sandra Storey contributed to this article.

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