Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1990
Results by town. Red indicates towns carried by William Weld, blue indicates towns carried by John Silber.
|Elections in Massachusetts|
The 1990 Massachusetts gubernatorial election was held on November 6, 1990. Republican William Weld was elected Governor of Massachusetts for the first time. He beat Democrat John Silber to become the first Republican Governor of Massachusetts since 1975.
Incumbent Governor Michael Dukakis did not run for a fourth term. Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Murphy, Boston University president John Silber, former Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General Francis X. Bellotti, and State Representative John H. Flood ran for the Democratic nomination.
After Flynn's decision not to run, Murphy was the early frontrunner due to her strong name recognition and a solid base of liberal support. In July 1989, she led Bellotti 42% to 18% in a Boston Globe poll. That November, Bellotti had come within 2% of Murphy in another Boston Globe poll.
In January, Silber entered the race and Bellotti ran his first wave of television ads. By this point, Bellotti had taken the lead in the race, polling 38% to Murphy's 20% and Silber's 16%.
The Democratic Convention was held on June 2, 1990 at the Springfield Civic Center. On the first ballot, Bellotti received 42.9% of the vote, Murphy received 37%, Silber received 15.5%, and Flood received 4.5%. Silber's 15.5% gave him enough votes to remain on the ballot. On the second ballot, Bellotti won the convention with 51%, Murphy received 40%, and Flood received 8.5%. Flood was not able to stay on the ballot as he did not receive the necessary 15%.
Murphy's campaign appeared to be badly hurt by the public perception that she was close to the unpopular Dukakis and therefore tried to make a break with the Dukakis Administration. Dukakis twice postponed a trade mission to Europe because Murphy hinted at a news conference that she would execute her own economic plan while serving as acting governor. After the incident, Murphy's unfavorable rating rose to 49% in a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll, compared to 38% a month earlier.
A week before the primary, Evelyn Murphy dropped out of the race and threw her support to Bellotti. Despite having Murphy's support and as high as a 15-point lead in the polls at one point during the campaign, Bellotti was upset by Silber, a political outsider who had run a provocative campaign filled with controversial statements known as "Silber Shockers".
|Democratic||Francis X. Bellotti||459,128||43.67%|
Former United States Attorney William Weld, State Representative Steven Pierce, former MDC Commissioner Guy Carbone, former Congressman Paul W. Cronin, and Marlborough resident Len Umina ran for the Republican nomination.
Many prominent Republicans, including White House Chief of Staff John Sununu and 1986 gubernatorial nominee George Kariotis encouraged former Democratic Governor-turned Republican Edward J. King to enter the race. In October 1989, King announced that he would not run for Governor.
Before the Republican Convention, Carbone dropped out of the Governor's race to run for Attorney General. Umina dropped out to run as an independent.
On September 30, 1989, State Senator Paul Cellucci, who had been considering a run for Governor announced that he would instead become William Weld's running mate.
At the Republican Convention, Pierce received 2,672 votes (52.6%), Weld received 1,845 (36.3%), and Cronin received 563 (11.1%). Cronin was not able to run in the primary because he did not receive the 15% necessary to make the ballot. Pierce received enough votes to have a "supermajority", which made Pierce the official nominee of the Republican Party.
During the campaign, Weld attacked Pierce's anti-abortion stance while Pierce claimed that Weld had changed his position on abortion. Pierce also touted his ability to win a House seat in a Democratic district, while Weld had lost to the Democratic front-runner for governor Francis Bellotti in the 1978 Attorney General's race.
Despite losing the convention and trailing Pierce in the polls, Weld was able to come-from-behind and defeated Pierce in the Republican primary.
With incumbent Lt. Governor Evelyn Murphy running for Governor, State Senator William B. Golden and State Representatives Marjorie Clapprood and Nicholas Paleologos sought to replace her on the Democratic ticket. Clapprood easily won the nomination, defeating her nearest opponent by over 22%.
|Democratic||William B. Golden||283,719||29.62%|
|Republican||Peter G. Torkildsen||164,732||40.55%|
William Weld defeated John Silber to become the state's first Republican Governor since Francis W. Sargent. Silber's blunt personality and controversial comments led many Democrats to vote for Weld.
|Republican||William Weld (Paul Cellucci)||1,175,817||50.19%|
|Democratic||John Silber (Marjorie Clapprood)||1,099,878||46.94%|
|Independent High Tech||Leonard Umina (Lawrence DeBerry)||63,703||2.68%|
- Republican Paul Cellucci was elected Lieutenant Governor for the first time. Democratic incumbent Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Murphy did not run.
- Proposition 3, a legislative referendum that would have cut taxes, was defeated.
- Howe, Peter J. (January 7, 1989). "Flynn's Move to Skip Governor's Race Creates a Political Logjam in Boston". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- Wilkie, Curtis (September 11, 1990). "Murphy Quits Race, Backs Bellotti". The Boston Globe.
- "Massachusetts Dems pick Bellotti for governor at picketed session". Associated Press. June 3, 1990. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- Butterfield, Fox (September 7, 1990). "Dukakis Accuses No. 2 of Plotting a Coup". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- Fox Butterfield (September 11, 1990). "Dukakis Antagonist Abandons Primary Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- Fox Butterfield (September 19, 1990). "Silber Wins Democratic Contest in Massachusetts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- Lehigh, Scot (October 13, 1989). "War Chest is Started and 'King '90' Buttons Ordered". Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Lehigh, Scot (September 30, 1989). "Some Say Sununu's Push for a King Candidacy Could Backfire". Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Lehigh, Scot (October 17, 1989). "King Announces He Will Not Run for Governor". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- Phillips, Frank (September 30, 1989). "Cellucci, Weld Join Forces". Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Weitzman, Erik M. (March 13, 1990). "GOP Takes Center Ring at Convention Circus". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- Wilson, David B. (March 25, 1990). "Something is Awry in 15-Percent Rule". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- Lehigh, Scot (December 16, 1989). "Weld, Pierce Trade Barbs Over Abortion Positions". Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Turner, Robert L. (March 8, 1990). "An L-Word That Worries Some Republicans". Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- "THE 1990 ELECTIONS: STATE BY STATE; Northeast". The New York Times. November 8, 1990. Retrieved 2010-06-18.