Tri-Town voters favor Straus, Healey in midterm election
Longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. William Straus (D-Mattapoisett) won a 16th term as 10th Bristol Representative after voters cast their ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 8, marking his 31st year in office.
Straus earned 10,541 votes from residents of Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, Fairhaven, Acushnet and three New Bedford districts. His Republican challenger, Jeffrey Swift saw 8,225 votes from the same areas.
Tri-Town residents made their voices heard in the midterm and voted in favor of Straus, who saw votes from 63% of Marion residents and 58% of Mattapoisett residents. Rochester favored Republican challenger Jeffrey Swift, who earned 55% of the vote in the town.
Straus was first elected in 1993 and swept the Democratic primary in September with 78.8% percent of the votes against challenger Richard Trapilo. Swift’s contest was closer, as he took 54% of the votes against opponent Robert McConnell.
In the Tri-Town, Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll, candidates for Massachusetts Governor and Lt. Governor, saw 61% of the votes in Marion and 66% of the votes in Mattapoisett. Rochester leaned Republican with 58% of voters favoring Geoff Diehl and Leah Allen, Republican candidates for Massachusetts Governor and Lt. Governor.
As of press time, the Associated Press has called the election in favor of Healey and Driscoll.
Voters also had the chance to vote on four ballot questions.
All three towns voted no on questions one and three. Question one, if approved, would allow the state to implement an extra 4% tax on any Massachusetts resident's personal income over $1 million. Question three would overhaul how the state licenses alcohol.
Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester also all voted yes on question two, which if approved would require dental insurers to spend at least 83% of premiums on patient care or quality improvements
The towns were split on question four. Marion voted yes while Mattapoisett and Rochester voted no. Question four asks voters if the state should keep or repeal a law recently passed by the legislature allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses beginning next year.
As of Wednesday, Nov. 9 only question two has been called. Massachusetts residents favored a yes vote on the question regarding dental insurance.
High voter turnout marked this election day, said town clerks in Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester.
“This is crazy,” said Marion Town Clerk Lissa Magauran. “[It’s] amazingly busy. Usually we get like 18% to 24% [voter turnout] and we were at that before the polls even opened this morning.”
By the end of the day Marion saw 63% of registered voters turn out to the polls.
Of the 1,200 mail-in ballots requested by Marion voters, 827 were returned, said Magauran. Who added that 237 voters chose to cast their ballots in-person before election day.
Mattapoisett followed a similar trend with 1,693 residents casting early votes in the election, about 36% of the total votes cast in the town.
Mattapoisett Town Clerk Catherine Heuberger stated there was a large turnout. “We were very busy today,” she said.
According to Heuberger, there are 5,732 registered votes in Mattapoisett and about 4,650, or 81%, of them showed up on election day.
In Rochester, Town Clerk Paul Dawson said that voter turnout depends on the election.
“This is an interesting state election,” he said. “It has been [busy], I guess I didn’t see it coming.”
According to unofficial election results, Rochester saw a 60% voter turnout with 2,872 residents casting their ballots.
Outside polling places, voters braved a chilly fall day to support their candidates. Camps of Straus and Swift supporters waved at passing motorists — with one Swift supporter earning a loud honk from a tractor-trailer in Rochester.
One Mattapoisett voter who held a Straus sign outside Old Hammondtown Elementary School jokingly said that he was there because “it’s too cold to go to the beach.”