LOWELL -- Lori Trahan swept to victory Tuesday night, ensuring the 3rd Congressional District will remain represented by a Democrat, as it has for three and a half decades, and by a woman when U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas retires at the end of her term.
Trahan, a first-time candidate, topped Republican nominee Rick Green and independent candidate Mike Mullen in the state's only race for an open congressional seat. Final vote totals were not available at press time, but with 50 percent of precincts reporting at 11:40 p.m., Trahan led with 90,340 votes, followed by Green, who had already conceded, with 54,527 and Mullen with 7,117.
Her election-night party at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center was abuzz with energy Tuesday, with hundreds of supporters watching national results on a large television before cheering and embracing as Trahan's success became official.
Trahan took the stage around 10 p.m. to claim official victory, saying Green had called her to concede.
"I think about this moment in very simple terms: it is the great privilege of my life to have received your vote," Trahan told the crowd at her election event. "In exchange for that vote, for that trust, I will fight for you, your families and your futures every single day."
With no Republican upsets in other House and Senate races across the state, Trahan joins an all-Democratic congressional delegation for Massachusetts.
Trahan will also be one of four women alongside U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Katherine Clark and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, something that speakers highlighted at Trahan's party Tuesday night.
"In 1925, this district elected Edith Nourse Rogers, the first woman member of Congress," Tsongas said. "In 2007, this district led the way again when I became, as Marty said, the first woman in a quarter century elected to Congress. But tonight, for the first time in the commonwealth's history, a Massachusetts congressional district -- our congressional district -- ahs elected two women in a row to the United States House of Representatives."
Trahan ran a somewhat moderate campaign, balancing plans to push back against the Trump administration with calls for bipartisanship and compromise. Her campaign promises focused in particular on defending the Affordable Care Act, protecting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients and pursuing education reforms to lower the cost of college.
On a night when Democrats appeared poised to win a majority in the House, Trahan said she hoped to see legislators fulfill their oversight responsibilities and rein in the president.
"People of tired of gridlock and they're tired of no check and balance on the (Trump) administration," she said. "This midterm was about holding this administration accountable. Congress is a co-equal branch of government and it's one, frankly, that hasn't really been operating to its fullest functions."
Trahan's victory Tuesday came with a wider margin -- and a far quicker result -- than the 10-way Democratic primary, which she won by 145 votes after a week-long recount. But despite the closeness of that result, the party quickly coalesced around Trahan, with each of her primary opponents and Tsongas herself quickly giving endorsements.
By the time the primary dust settled, a mere six weeks was left for the general-election cycle. Green had not faced a primary opponent, and Mullen was able to make the final ballot as an independent, but the candidates met for five debates in that short period.
Green portrayed himself as a moderate in his campaign, often avoiding a partisan tone. Although he voted for and donated to Trump, he rarely invoked the president. Instead, Green focused on his business success -- he co-founded the online auto parts retailer 1A Auto and is today its CEO -- and on popular issues such as infrastructure repair.
He spent Tuesday night at Tavern in the Square in Littleton with family and supporters. Shortly before 10 p.m., Green called Trahan to concede the race, and although he expressed disappointment to his crowd, he praised his opponent on a campaign "run the way campaigns should be."
"Lori and I have distinct differences on policy but it was, the debates were always done in a civil tone, and a lot can be learned from a lot of folks around the country if they watch how we handled ourselves and how our opponents handled themselves as well," Green said, according to a transcript released by his campaign.
Mullen did not have a public event Tuesday. He and Trahan offered similar positions on many issues during the campaign, but Mullen stressed the need for an alternative to the two-party system to improve voter engagement and reduce the influence of money in politics.
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