Carolyn Morwick: Some New England election results in review

Via the New England Board of Higher Education (

All six New England states voted for Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, despite her loss nationally in the electoral college. It's unclear how the 115th Congress and President-Elect Donald Trump will act on proposals by Clinton and her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders for free college and reduced student debt. Among highlights of the 2016 elections:

New Hampshire and Vermont elected Republican governors, increasing the slate of GOP governors in New England to four

Maggie Hassan’s election to the U.S. Senate gave women Democrats control of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation; women are also slated to fill House speakers’ posts in Maine and Vermont

Republican gains in the Connecticut state Senate produced an 18–18 tie

Maine voters approved a hike in the minimum wage and new income tax for those with incomes of $200,000 or higher to fund public education

Maine voters also made a national splash by approving "rank choice" voting which would allow voters to rank their choices of candidates in elections

Massachusetts voters rejected a call for more charter schools

Maine, Massachusetts voters approved recreational use of marijuana.

Connecticut election results

All six Democratic congressional incumbents easily defeated their challengers, as the state voted handily for Clinton in the race for president.

It was a different story In the Connecticut General Assembly. In the state senate, the election produced an 18-18 tie. Republicans picked up three seats by unseating two Democrats and winning an open seat. Sen. Dante Bartolomeo (D) lost her re-election bid to Republican Len Suzio; veteran legislator Sen. Joseph Crisco Jr. (D) lost his race to Republican George Logan. In the contest for an open seat, Republican Heather Somers beat former Democratic State Rep. Timothy Bowles.

Republicans also gained eight seats in the House, where Democrats held on to a 79 – 72 majority. Republicans unseated six Democrats and won two open seats.


Maine election results


In a rematch in the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Congressman Bruce Poliquin (R) defeated challenger Emily Cain 54% to 45%. In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent Chellie Pingree easily won re-election, defeating Republican challenger Mark Holbrook.

In a close race for the White House, Clinton beat Trump 47% to 45%.

In the Maine Legislature, Senate Republicans maintained control by a one-vote margin, 18–17. In the House, Democrats have the majority, 76-72 with two Independents.

In the House, lawmakers chose Democrat Rep. Sara Gideon of Freeport to succeed outgoing speaker, Mark Eves. Senate President Republican Micheal Thibodeau was re-elected to his post.


Ballot questions


Question 1: Legalization and Regulation of Recreational Marijuana. Passed

Question 2: New income tax for household incomes higher than $200,000 to fund public education. Passed

Question 3: Require background checks before the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as dealers. Failed

Question 4: Raise the minimum wage to $12 in increments by 2020. Passed

Question 5: Rank choice voting which would allow voters to rank their choices of candidates in elections and to have ballots recounted at the state level in multiple rounds in which last place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by majority. Passed

Question 6: Allows $100 million in bonds for transportation projects. Passed

Gov. Paul LePage remains opposed to ballot questions 2 and 5, saying they would hurt the Maine economy.


Massachusetts election results


Nationally, all nine Democratic congressional incumbents were re-elected while Clinton trounced Trump, 61% to 34% in the race for president.

In the Massachusetts legislature, Democrats continued to hold a wide majority over Republicans. In the House, Democrats had a supermajority, 124–33 while in the Senate, Democrats retained control, 34 to 6Ballot questions

Question 1: Expand slot machine gaming (allow at tracks) Failed

Question 2: Expand charter schools (up to 12 new approvals) Failed

Question 3: Improve farm animal confines (space to stand, turn) Passed

Question 4: Legalize marijuana (regulate and tax) Passed

New Hampshire election results

In a closely watched race, Clinton narrowly edged Trump 46.8% to 46.5% ,while former Governor and Democra, Maggie Hassan squeaked by incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte 48% to 47.9% in the race for U.S. Senate. Democrat Carol Shea-Porter defeated incumbent Frank Guinta in their fourth matchup. Incumbent Democrat Annie Kuster was re-elected, defeating Jim Lawrence 50% to 45%.

In the race for governor, Republican Chris Sununu defeated Democrat Colin Van Ostern 49% to 48%. In the legislature, Republicans kept control of the House—the largest state chamber in America—220 to 180. Both Speaker Shawn Jasper and Senate President Chuck Morse were re-elected to their posts.


Rhode Island election results


Both Democratic congressmen, David Cicilline and James Langevin easily defeated their opponents. Democrat Clinton soundly defeated Trump in the race for president, 55% to 39%.


Ballot questions


The following ballot questions were all approved.

Question 1: Restores Ethics Commission’s full authority over state lawmakers Passed

Question 2: Twin River Proposal to build a new casino (pending local approval) Passed

Question 3: Proposal to borrow $27 million for new veterans home Passed

Question 4: Proposal to borrow $45 million to fund building new engineering school and new innovation center at University of Rhode Island Passed

Question 5: Proposal to borrow $70 million to fund new port projects at Quonset and Providence ports Passed

Question 6: Proposal to borrow $35 million for various environmental projects Passed

Question 7: Proposal to borrow $50 million for housing Passed

In throwing her support behind Question 4, Gov. Gina Raimondo said: "This bond builds on our success, and it positions us for greater, more sustainable success in the years ahead. By voting 'yes' on 4, you're going to be voting for a stronger economy. You're going to be voting for the innovative jobs that will position Rhode Island to lead a new industrial revolution in advanced industries and advanced manufacturing."


Vermont Election Results


U.S. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy easily defeated his challenger, Republican Scott Milne 60% to 32%. Democratic Congressman Peter Welch handily defeated his challenger, Erica Clawson of the Liberty Union Party, 77% to 9%. Clinton beat Trump, 56% to 29%.

In the race for governor, Lt. Gov. Republican Phil Scott defeated Democrat Sue Minter 51% to 43%.

In the Vermont General Assembly, Democrats control the House by a 98 to 52 margin, while in the Senate Democrats maintain a 23 to 7 margin. Democrats have chosen a new speaker, Rep. Mitzi Johnson and Sen. Tim Ashe is the new president of the Senate.


Carolyn Morwick directs government and community relations at the New England Board of Higher Education and former director of the Caucus of New England State Legislatures.