Returns are still coming in, but Josh Kraushaar tweets that NBC has called the Massachusetts gubernatorial race for Deval Patrick, after a tough three-way race against Republican Charlie Baker and Independent Tim Cahill.
With his approval ratings in the low 30s, Patrick was considered a long shot for re-election as early as last summer. But thanks to a lackluster opponent, strong Democratic turnout and a resilient state economy (below the national average at 8.3 percent), Patrick will live to fight again in the Massachusetts state House, as the nation's only black governor.
It's worth noting that Patrick's circumstances, like his 2006 campaign (helmed by David Axelrod), bear a strong resemblance to Barack Obama's. It's almost certainly the case that the White House has paid a lot of attention to the race in Massachusetts, and I wouldn't be surprised if a variation on Patrick's strategy makes its way to Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.
-- Jamelle Bouie