Weld and Silber in dead heat:
Challengers capitalize on anger over incumbents
By Joanna Stone
As the final hours of political campaigning come to an end, the outcome of today's vote is too close to call in many state and national elections.
The two major candidates for governor of Massachusetts are Republican candidate William F. Weld and Democrat John F. Silber. According to a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll released yesterday, both candidates were statistically even, each holding 43 percent of the vote.
The alternative candidate is Len Umina, of the High Technology Party. Umina is expected to receive only two percent of the vote.
Twelve percent of the voters remain undecided, and it is their votes that the candidates have been scurrying to secure during the final countdown to election day.
The race between Silber and Weld has been a close one that has been marked by strong words and temperamental actions.
Weld stands as a Republican in a traditionally Democratic state. He has attempted to balance his conservative views on matters such as gun control, prisons and taxes by his relatively large acceptance by prominent liberals who are put off by Silber.
Silber, president of Boston University, has made remarks throughout the campaign that have been called sexist and racist. He has been prone to temper outbursts.
Two days ago, Silber appeared on the CBS news program Face the Nation. In a preview to the show, host Leslie Stahl said that Silber had refused to campaign in Roxbury, referring to the black residents as drug addicts, had called Jews racist, and had said that working mothers contribute to child neglect and child abuse.
After watching the preview, Silber became angry and denounced Stahl's reporting, telling her he would win Tuesday's election "despite the efforts of people like yourself to distort my record." To which Stahl replied, "Wow! You're angry."
Weld has attempted to capitalize on Silber's outbursts, emphasizing his own relative stability and maintaining that he will be elected governor despite his Republican partisanship in a state where Democrats far outnumber Republicans.
State races and
Another Republican upset in this traditionally Democratic state may occur in the race for treasurer. Republican candidate Joseph Malone was said to be running 20 points ahead of his Democratic rival, William Galvin, in polls yesterday. Galvin, however, said he is nowhere near declaring defeat. He claimed his field organizer is "second only to John Silber's" and that he will get the vote out on election day, when it counts.
In the US Senate election, Republican Jim Rappaport is hoping to unseat Democrat incumbent John Kerry. This campaign has been plagued with reciprocal insults. Rappaport has brought up Kerry's Senate votes in favor of increased taxes, while Kerry has responded by describing Rappaport's admission to withholding several hundred pages of addendum and documentation from his tax return release.
There are several state-wide propositions on the ballot. Question 1, if passed, would repeal the constitutionally required decennial state census. Question 2 would impose a sharp limitation on the use of consultants and contract providers of services.
Question 3, sponsored by Citizens for Limited Taxation, would reduce state tax rates, license fees and charges by all independent state authorities to their Jan. 1, 1988 levels. This question has been debated fiercely by gubernatorial and other candidates, in part because of the budget crisis and economic hardships which Massachusetts is facing.
Question 4 would reduce the number of signatures required for smaller political parties and independent candidates to qualify for appearing on the ballot. And Question 5 would mandate that state aid to municipalities be a minimum of 40 percent of state receipts from income, sales and corporate taxes, in addition to lottery distribution.
The Boston Globe favors Questions 1 and 4, and opposes all other propositions.
The Globe's endorsements for statewide candidates are as follows: John Kerry for US senator; William Weld and Paul Cellucci for governor and lieutenant governor; Scott Harshbarger for attorney general; Barbara Ahearn for secretary of state; Joseph Malone for treasurer and A. Joseph DeNucci for auditor.
Other races seen
Of particular interest elsewhere in the nation are the gubernatorial races in the big states. Governors of those states will be responsible for drawing new political maps, which could swing more than 40 seats from one party to another in the House of Representatives.
The California gubernatorial race is thought to be the "biggest prize in the 1990 elections." Senator Pete Wilson, a moderate Republican and former mayor of San Diego, was said yesterday to hold an edge over Democratic candidate and former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein.
The race was said to have become a contest between cities, with each candidate professing that his/her former mayoral district was better maintained economically, physically and socially.
Also of particular interest is the senate race in North Carolina, where Senator Jesse Helms faces possible defeat by Democrat Harvey Gantt MCP '70, the only major party black senatorial candidate.
In Texas, Republican Clayton Williams is running against State Treasurer Ann Richards. On Friday, Williams publicly admitted to having paid no federal income taxes in 1986, when Texas was in an economic slump. However, a poll taken on Sunday by The Houston Chronicle showed Williams slightly ahead of Richards.
Other important races include Michigan, where current Governor James J. Blanchard risks defeat from Republican rival John Engler. There is much discontent in Michigan with the incumbent government. However, Engler, head of the Republican State Senate, is also seen as an incumbent and thus does not benefit from the discontent. Recent polls have shown Blanchard comfortably in the lead.
In Ohio, Republican candidate George Voinovich, former Mayor of Cleveland, is running eight points ahead of Democratic rival Anthony J. Celebrezze. The Democratic incumbent governor, Richard Celeste, is stepping down.
Also stepping down is James R. Thompson, who has been governor of Illinois for 14 years. Competing for the now vacant seat are Democrat Neil Hatigan and Republican Jim Edgar.
And in Florida, Democrat former Senator Lawton Chiles seems to have an edge over incumbent Governor Bob Martinez.