Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1998

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Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1998
← 1994 November 2, 1998 2002 →
  Cellucci paul.jpg Scott Harshbarger2.jpg
Nominee Paul Cellucci Scott Harshbarger
Party Republican Democratic
Running mate Jane M. Swift Warren Tolman
Popular vote 967,160 901,843
Percentage 50.81% 47.38%

1998 MA Governor.png
Results by town. Red indicates towns carried by Paul Cellucci, blue indicates towns carried by Scott Harshbarger.

Governor before election

Paul Cellucci

Elected Governor

Paul Cellucci

The 1998 Massachusetts gubernatorial election was held on November 3, 1998. Acting Governor Paul Cellucci was elected to his first term as Governor of Massachusetts.



Cellucci was challenged in the Republican primary by Treasurer and Receiver-General Joe Malone. The race between Cellucci and Malone was acrimonious, with each candidate accusing the other of committing ethical violations.[1]

On September 16, Cellucci defeated Malone to win his party's nomination.[2]

Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial primary, 1998 [3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Paul Cellucci 136,258 58.57%
Republican Joe Malone 95,963 41.25%
Write-in 442 0.19%

Former Congressman and Kennedy family member Joseph Patrick Kennedy II was considered to be the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination, but personal and family problems resulted in him ending his campaign in August 1997.[4]

Attorney General Scott Harshbarger defeated State Senator Patricia McGovern and former United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Brian J. Donnelly in the Democratic primary.

Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial primary, 1998 [5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Scott Harshbarger 296,212 51.35%
Democratic Patricia McGovern 180,429 31.28%
Democratic Brian J. Donnelly 98,774 17.12%
Write-in 1,484 0.26%

Lt. Governor[edit]

Cellucci's Secretary of Consumer Affairs, Jane M. Swift, defeated Malone's running mate, radio host Janet E. Jeghelian for the Republican nomination.[6] Cellucci chose Swift as his running mate after Secretary of Administration and Finance of Massachusetts Charlie Baker and Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph C. Martin II declined to run.

Massachusetts Republican Lt. gubernatorial primary, 1998 [7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jane M. Swift 116,476 54.38%
Republican Janet E. Jeghelian 97,411 45.48%
Write-in 323 0.15%

State Senator Warren Tolman defeated Governor's Councilor Dorothy Kelly Gay in the Democratic primary.

Massachusetts Democratic Lt. gubernatorial primary, 1998 [8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Warren Tolman 270,791 53.75%
Democratic Dorothy Kelly Gay 232,250 46.10%
Write-in 768 0.15%

General election[edit]

In a January opinion poll, Cellucci lead Harshbarger 50%-30%. By August, Harshbarger had taken a 37%-35% lead over Cellucci.[9] After Harshbarger's primary victory, many moderate Democrats who had voted for McGovern or Donnelly, chose to support the socially liberal, fiscally moderate Cellucci instead of the more liberal Harshbarger.[10][11]

On November 3, Cellucci defeated Harshbarger by 65,317 votes.[12]

Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Paul Cellucci
(Jane Swift)
967,160 50.81
Democratic Scott Harshbarger
(Warren Tolman)
901,843 47.38
Libertarian Dean Cook
(Eli Israel)
32,184 1.69
Write-in 2,149 0.11
Turnout 1,903,336 51.19%
Republican hold Swing

See also[edit]