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New England proved to be perhaps the most important region for Congressional Democrats in Tuesday’s elections.
Senate Democrats had a banner night overall, led by two key Republican seat pickups in the region that allowed them to expand their current majority.
And New England was a key firewall for House Democrats, who flipped two GOP-held seats in New Hampshire and saw vulnerable incumbents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island hang on.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) was the only Senate incumbent to lose on Tuesday. He faced a difficult and expensive battle against Harvard University professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren (D) in a state where the demographics were weighted heavily against him. Warren’s victory in a way avenges 2010 Democratic candidate Martha Coakley’s embarrassing loss to Brown in a special election. Warren will become the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the Senate.
Brown hinted in his concession speech that he’s not done with public service.
“Defeat is only temporary,” he said Tuesday night.
He could look at a gubernatorial bid in two years; current Gov. Deval Patrick has said he will not seek re-election. Or he could try to return to the Senate if there is another special election opening. That’s a possibility if Sen. John Kerry (D) were to be tapped to join the Obama administration.
Elsewhere in the Bay State, embattled Rep. John Tierney (D) pulled off a surprising victory against former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R), a victory few people thought was possible heading into Election Day. Tierney, who was dogged by his wife’s family’s legal problems, pulled out a 1-point win in the Democratic-leaning district.
Attorney Joseph Kennedy III (D) easily won the seat of retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D). His victory means that there will once again be a Kennedy serving in Congress; the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy is the first of his generation to come to Capitol Hill. There has not been a Kennedy in Congress since Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) retired in 2010.
In Maine, former Gov. Angus King (I) won the seat of retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R). King is expected to caucus with Democrats, although on Wednesday morning he wouldn’t confirm that.
“Next week is an orientation session. I’m going to be going down, probably this weekend, to Washington and talking to the leadership” on both sides, King told MSNBC. “My goal is to be as independent as I possibly can, but I also want to be effective.”