Frank Holds on House Seat
Preliminary results show Frank with 61% of vote over Republican Sean Bielat's 37%.
Hometown favorite Barney Frank has held the seat in the Fourth Congressional district for an impressive 15 terms.
After tonight, it looks as though one more term will be added to that tally.
Despite a formidable Republican opponent and perhaps the hardest-fought race Frank has had in his 30-year tenure, the Democrat incumbent took a relatively easy victory over Republican challenger Sean Bielat.
According to the Boston Globe, Frank held with 60 percent of the state's vote to Bielat's 37 percent.
As he entered the room, Frank was greeted with not only applause, but a resounding chant of "Barney!" lead by his hometown supporters.
"This was a very important campaign to win," Frank began. "I am happy and grateful to those who helped me."
The race was called around 9:30 p.m., an announcment that brought a rush of yelling and applause from the ballroom at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Newton.
In true Frank fashion, the newly re-elected congressman paired serious political points with a touch of humor—adding that he would like to send Bielat a photo autographed by his partner, Jim Ready.
Kidding aside, Frank underlined the seriousness of the road a head, one with a U.S. House that no longer has the Democratic majority.
"Sadly, it doesn't look like we'll be able to provide any more help for teachers or firefighters," Frank said. "We have a hard fight ahead of us."
He also took a few jabs at the campaigning of the right wing and the tactics used over the last few months.
"The collective campaigns that were run by most republicans were beneath the dignity of a democracy," Frank said. "I was the target of a lot of inaccurate, out of context, made up, distorted views."
Across town at the Bielat campaign rally at the Newton Marriott, the mood dampened when it was announced that Frank was the projected winner. The crowd began to disperse and the noise level plummeted.
Bielat, a Brookline resident who launched a spirited campaign and garnered national attention, tried to strike a victorious tone when he finally took the stage at the Newton Marriott.
"We did something next to impossible," he said. "We took on a 30-year incumbent who has a gerrymandered district and outspent us by $1 million. And we came close."
But many of Bielat's supporters, some of whom had spent weeks holding signs and campaigning for the challenger, were surprised and disappointed by the loss.
"It is disappointing," said Jared Rhoads, a 30-year-old from Medford. "I was a fan of what he stood for. I don't know what to make of it. I thought it would be a lot closer—I don't see what the voters see in Barney Frank."
Throughout the race, Bielat has shown surprising force in a district that has voted in its incumbent with a wide margin year after year.
Just last week, a poll done by the Boston Globe showed Bielat closing in on Frank, falling just 13 points behind the veteran politician.
And although Bielat tends to distance himself from some of the more radical viewpoints of the Tea Party movement, his campaign has received support from the Sarah Palin-backed group as well as the national spotlight.
The national headlines and endorsements, though, were no match for the Democratic giant that has been a significant force in the U.S. House.
Despite his often hard shell, Frank took the time to thank and send appreciation to his friends, family and supporters.
"I owe you a great deal," he said. "I promise I will try very hard to justify the confidence you have put in me."