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Silber, Weld win

By Andrea Lamberti

In a "shocking" upset, Boston University President John R. Silber defeated former state Attorney General Francis X. Bellotti in Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary election. Former US Attorney William F. Weld also came from behind in the polls to defeat state House Minority Leader Steven D. Pierce in the Republican primary.

Silber won 54 percent of the Democratic votes, while Weld took 60 percent of the Republican votes. Lt. Gov. Evelyn Murphy, who dropped out of the race last week and supported Bellotti, received three percent of the Democratic votes.

Silber has billed himself as "the outsider the insiders are afraid of." But despite this label, few differences emerged between him and Bellotti: They both vowed to preserve abortion rights and to cut bureaucracy in the state government. They also both opposed the Citizens for Limited Taxation tax rollback petition.

Polls preceding the election indicated Bellotti would take the nomination. Many Silber voters made their decision in the last hours of the campaign, Silber supporters said, explaining the unanticipated victory. Others had known all along they would vote for Silber, but because he had alienated many different groups with his comments, voters hesitated to express their support publicly, his supporters added.

Pierce enjoyed leads of over 20 percentage points at times last summer, and was firmly supported by the Republican party at its state convention in March. Weld stuck it out despite suggestions to run for lieutenant governor, and took command in August when he put $300,000 of his own money into the campaign.

In the Republican debates, Weld accused Pierce of not strongly supporting the CLT tax rollback and of having done little as a state legislator. Both did support the tax initiative, but did not agree on other issues: For example, though Weld supports abortion rights and the distribution of condoms in high schools, Pierce opposes abortion.

In his victory speech, Weld charged the "Democratic political machine" with destroying the Massachusetts economy. "This year we can end the one-party dominance that has given us fat, arrogant state government," he said.

Pierce offered to support Weld in the November general election.

In the race for lieutenant governor, state Rep. Marjorie A. Clapprood took 52 percent of the votes, defeating state Sen. William B. Golden in the Democratic primary, and Republican state Sen. Paul Cellucci, Weld's running mate, beat Rep. Peter Torkildsen, 60 percent to 40 percent.

Summary of other results

Middlesex County District Attorney L. Scott Harshbarger defeated incumbent Attorney General James M. Shannon in the race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general by winning 54 percent of the votes.

State Rep. William G. Galvin won 51 percent of the votes to defeat House Speaker George Keverian -- who won 30 percent of the votes -- and Sen. Richard A. Kraus in the Democratic contest for treasurer.

Incumbent John F. Kerry ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for US senator.

In the race for the Republican nomination for attorney general, William Sawyer, a Boston attorney, won 53 percent of the votes to oust Guy Carbone of Belmont.

Jim Rappaport, a Concord resident who won 66 percent of the votes, defeated Dan Daly of Hingham to earn the Republican nomination for US senator.

Joseph Malone of Watertown ran unopposed for the Republican nomination for treasurer.

In the Cambridge race for the 28th Middlesex District, the incumbent, Rep. Alvin Thompson (D -- Cambridge), earned over 70 percent of the votes to defeat his challenger, Larry Beeferman.

And Rep. Robert Havern (D-Arlington) won over 40 percent of the vote for a chance at the 4th Middlesex District Senate seat, which Sen. Richard A. Kraus gave up to run for state treasurer, according to the Cambridge Chronicle.