Historical Elections In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


In Massachusetts, elections are much the same today as they were in the last century.  Twenty-six governors have reigned over the Commonwealth. Two who won back governorship after previously losing reelection.

Former-Governor David Walsh served from 1914 to 1916. Initially, he served in the Massachusetts legislative branch. Next, he was elected the lieutenant governor. After his gubernatorial term, Walsh served five terms in the United States Senate.

Calvin Coolidge served as the state’s governor from 1919 to 1921. His first year in office, the Boston police went on strike. “The strike prompted a lot of property damage but did not seriously endanger the safety of the community; partly due to the quick response of the government,” according to The History Channel.

Touting his success with combating the effects of the strike catapulted Coolidge into the White House. As the United States Vice President, he became the 30th president after acceding when President Warren G. Hardy died.

Between 1935 to 1937 James Michael Curley was the governor. His political experiences were both up and down. Before his governorship, he was Boston’s mayor for three terms and one term afterward.

Curley frequently ran for office and seems to have lost as many time as he won. His first unsuccessful campaign for the governorship was in 1925 but won in his 1934 bid. Curley was imprisoned for mail fraud. He served five months of his sentence before being fully pardoned by President Harry S. Truman. After losing two more bids he retired after losing in 1954.

His colorful political career was the inspiration for “Edwin O’Connor’s popular novel “The Last Hurrah” (1956), and the next year Curley’s best-selling autobiography, “I’d Do It Again,” was published.”

21st Century Politics in the Commonwealth

In the Massachusetts primaries, Governor Charlie Baker was challenged in by Scott Lively for the GOP ticket. The Democratic side, the gubernatorial candidates were Jay Gonzales faced his opponent Bob Massie. Gonzalez will face off Baker during the general election in November.

For the Commonwealth’s Lieutenant Governor’s Democratic primary ticket were Jimmy Tingle and Quentin Palfrey. The Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito ran unopposed for the GOP. In the general election, Polito is competing against Palfrey.

The Secretary of State candidates were Josh Zakim, a Boston City Councilor, against incumbent Bill Galvin in the Democratic primary ticket. Anthony Amore ran in the Republican primary for the position unopposed. On November 6, voters will choose between Amore and the current Secretary of State, Galvin.

Incumbent Attorney General Maura Healey was running unopposed in the Democratic primary for her title. For the GOP, the candidates were Dan Shores, a Hingham Attorney, and James “Jay” McMahon III, a Cape Cod Attorney. McMahon III will compete for the position against Healey.

Boston Globe Media reported that Baker was elected governor in 2014. He was previously the human service secretary for Paul Cellucci, and a budget chief for William Weld. He received the endorsement from the Republican party in April 2018.

These elections, as with those in the past, will soon become part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ historical past.

By John A. Federico
Edited by Cathy Milne


Boston Globe Media: Here are the Mass. governor, Lt. governor, attorney general, and secretary of state primary candidates
Boston Globe Media: A century of governors in Massachusetts
Boston Globe Media:  Here’s an updating list of the Massachusetts primary election winners

Featured Image Courtesy of Daniel Mennerich’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License