Richard Paris, a Hyde Park resident who runs the Dorchester-based firefighters’ Local 718, is a personal friend of US Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham). He has photos of Brown, who won the 2010 special election and several Dorchester precincts, in his Florian Hall office. Two years ago, forty-nine percent of union households went for Brown over the Democrat, Martha Coakley.
On Tuesday, Paris voted for Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge) instead of Brown.
“Friends and business are two different issues,” he said while sitting in an armchair outside of the Warren camp’s election night party in the Fairmont Copley Hotel’s ballroom.
With many still waiting in line to vote after 8 p.m., Warren won Boston overall, taking 74 percent of the vote to Brown’s 26 percent, according to the city election department’s unofficial results. At Florian Hall, where two precincts vote, Warren won Ward 16, Precinct 11 while Brown won Ward 16, Precinct 12 by 67 votes. In Dorchester, Warren won an estimated 83 percent of the vote and 96 percent in Mattapan. At the statewide level, Warren beat Brown, 54 percent to 46 percent.
In her victory speech at the Fairmount Copley Hotel, Warren promised to be a “champion” for the middle class.
“This victory belongs to you,” Warren told an exultant, capacity crowd. “For every family that has been chipped and squeezed and hammered, we’re going to fight for a level playing field and we’re going to put people back to work.”
“She won fair and square,” Brown told his supporters at the Park Plaza Hotel.
Brown, who remains popular, according to polls, seemed to indicate he isn’t finished with politics, saying, “There are no obstacles that you can’t overcome, and defeat is only temporary.”
Unions, communities of color, progressives: The liberal-leaning coalition came out in a big way for Warren, who won a six-year hold on the seat held by the late liberal lion, Edward Kennedy, for almost 47 years.
Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral, a Warren supporter, said the candidate appeared at rallies in Hibernian Hall and had sit-downs with women of color. “She could talk to people about foreclosures,” Cabral said, referring to Warren’s criticism of banks and lenders involved in the foreclosure crisis, which hit communities of color in Dorchester and Mattapan particularly hard. “Her message was very real.”
For some, the turnout echoed last year’s municipal elections, when Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo were re-elected as city councillors at-large because communities of color showed up in force at the polls.
“We keep acting like this is an anomaly,” Pressley said at Fairmont Copley. “My race [in 2011] is evidence that it isn’t. The electorate is changing.”
The Warren camp was also able to successfully nationalize the race – touting the possibility of Republicans wresting control of the US Senate from Democrats if Brown was re-elected. State Sen. Brian A. Joyce pointed to the US Senate race match-up in 1996 between incumbent Democrat John Kerry and Gov. Bill Weld, a moderate Republican who endorsed Brown in this year’s election. “It was smart to make it somewhat of a referendum on national politics,” Joyce said. “We had the same thing here.”
As Brown swung through West Roxbury on Tuesday morning, Warren was at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 103 offices on Freeport Street, where more than 100 volunteers were dutifully phone banking. She was mobbed by union members holding camera phones aloft in attempt to get a picture of her visit. Off to the side, former state Sen. Steven Tolman of Brighton, who now heads up the state’s AFL-CIO chapter, chatted with Bruce Mann, Warren’s husband: “You’re not the only one who loves her anymore,” Tolman quipped, before turning confident. “We should win this pretty big.”
Hours later, as Sandi Bagley, a former chair of the Ward 15 Democratic Committee, was leaving the Fairmont Copley ballroom, she was asked about the difference between 2010 and 2012 and paused before answering. “She asked us what should we do” to help.
Bagley recalled a meeting, thrown together at the last minute in August 2011, when Warren was still considering whether to jump into the race. Joyce Linehan, a top Warren supporter, had texted Bagley about the gathering, a message, she told the Reporter, that is still stored in her clamshell phone: “I’m having Elizabeth Warren. Can you come?”