Gubernatorial Elections: 1970-2022

Gov Charlie Baker in Lowell in November 2015.

Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement this week that he will not seek reelection to a third term as the governor of the Commonwealth will make the 2022 state election especially interesting. With that in mind, here is a synopsis of each gubernatorial race from 1970 until now.

1970

Governor – Francis W. Sargent Jr. In the general election, Republican incumbent Francis W. Sargent Jr. (1,058,623 with 12,774 in Lowell) defeated Democrat Kevin H. White (799,269 with 17,470 in Lowell). Sargent was unopposed in the Republican Primary. In the Democratic Primary, White defeated three other candidates:

  1. Kevin H. White – 231,605
  2. Maurice A. Donahue – 218,665
  3. Francis X. Bellotti – 164,313
  4. Kenneth P. O’Donnell – 59,970

Lieutenant Governor Francis W. Sargent Jr. became Governor on January 22, 1969, when John A. Volpe resigned to become U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

1974

Governor – Michael S. Dukakis. In the general election, Democrat Michael S. Dukakis (992,284 with 21,171 in Lowell) defeated Republican incumbent Francis W. Sargent Jr. (784,353 with 8,575 in Lowell). In the Democratic Primary, Dukakis (444,590) defeated Robert H. Quinn (326,385). In the Republican Primary, Sargent (124,250) defeated Carroll P. Sheehan (71,936).

1978

Governor – Edward J. King. In the general election, Democrat Edward J. King (1,030,294) defeated Republican Francis W. Hatch Jr. (926,072). In the Democratic Primary, King (442,174 with 9,342 in Lowell) defeated incumbent Michael S. Dukakis (365,417 with 8,559 in Lowell) and Barbara Ackermann (58,220). In the Republican Primary, Hatch (141,070) defeated Edward F. King (110,932).

1982

Governor – Michael S. Dukakis. In the general election, Democrat Michael S. Dukakis (1,219,109 with 16,776 in Lowell) defeated Republican John W. Sears (749,679 with 8,579 in Lowell). In the Democratic Primary, Dukakis (631,911 with 8,702 in Lowell) defeated incumbent Edward J. King (549,335 with 10,147 in Lowell). In the Republican Primary, Sears (90,617) defeated John R. Lakian (46,675) and Andrew H. Card Jr. (40,899).

1986

Governor – Michael S. Dukakis. Democratic incumbent Michael S. Dukakis (11,157,786 with 11,861 in Lowell) defeated Republican George S. Kariotis (525,364 with 6,109 in Lowell). Dukakis was unopposed in the Democratic Primary. In the Republican Primary, Gregory S. Hyatt (31,021) finished first; Royall H. Switzler (20,802) finished second; and write-in candidate George S. Kariotis (11,787) finished third. However, both Hyatt and Switzler withdrew from the race, leaving Kariotis as the Republican nominee.

Hyatt was investigated for but never charged with improprieties in obtaining signatures on nomination papers in a prior election and also faced press reports of erratic behavior. Switzler dropped out of the race over inaccuracies about his military record.

1990

Governor – William F. Weld. In the general election, Republican William F. Weld (1,175,817 with 12,142 in Lowell) defeated Democrat John Silber (1,099,878 with 15,100 in Lowell). In the Democratic Primary, Silber (562,222) defeated Francis X. Bellotti (459,128) and Evelyn Murphy (20,054). In the Republican Primary, Weld (270,455) defeated Steven D. Pierce (176,184).

Although Murphy appeared on the primary ballot, a week before the election she announced she was withdrawing from the race and endorsed Bellotti.

1994

Governor – William F. Weld. In the general election, Republican incumbent William F. Weld (1,533,390 with 15,897 in Lowell) defeated Democrat Mark Roosevelt (611,650 with 6,454 in Lowell). Weld was unopposed in the Republican Primary. In the Democratic Primary, Roosevelt (215,061) defeated George A. Bachrach (120,567) and Michael J. Barrett (111,199).

1998

Governor – A. Paul Cellucci. In the general election, Republican incumbent A. Paul Cellucci (967,160 with 9,589 in Lowell) defeated Democrat L. Scott Harshbarger (901,843 with 8,846 in Lowell). In the Democratic Primary, Harshbarger (306,883) defeated Patricia P. McGovern (189,686) and Brian J. Donnelly (101,984). In the Republican Primary, Cellucci (136,258) defeated Joseph D. Malone (95,963).

Lieutenant Governor Cellucci became Governor when Governor William F. Weld resigned after being nominated by President Clinton to be U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Weld’s nomination was later withdrawn due to opposition in the U.S. Senate and he never served as Ambassador.

2002

Governor – Mitt Romney In the general election, Republican Mitt Romney (1,091,988 with 9,997 in Lowell) defeated Democrat Shannon P. O’Brien (985,981 with 10,085 in Lowell). In the Republican Primary, Romney was unopposed. In the Democratic Primary, O’Brien defeated four other candidates:

  1. Shannon P. O’Brien – 243,039
  2. Robert B. Reich – 185,315
  3. Thomas F. Birmingham – 179,793
  4. Warren E. Tolman – 132,157
  5. Steven Grossman – 5,976 

Lieutenant Governor Jane M. Swift became Governor on April 10, 2001, when A. Paul Cellucci was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Swift did not seek reelection in 2002.

2006

Governor – Deval Patrick. In the general election, Democrat Deval Patrick (1,234,984 with 11,626 in Lowell) defeated Republican Kerry M. Healey (784,342 with 7,217 in Lowell). In the Democratic Primary, Patrick (452,229) defeated Christopher F. Gabrieli (248,301) and Thomas F. Reilly (211,031). Healey was unopposed in the Republican Primary.

Incumbent Mitt Romney did not seek reelection.

Gov. Deval Patrick in Lowell. October 2014.

2010

Governor – Deval Patrick. In the general election, Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick (1,112,283 with 10,839 votes in Lowell) defeated Republican Charlie Baker (964,866 with 8,987 votes in Lowell), unenrolled candidate Timothy P. Cahill (184,395), and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill E. Stein (32,895). Neither Patrick nor Baker had opposition in their respective primaries.

2014

Governor – Charlie Baker. In the general election, Republican Charlie Baker (1,044,573 with 9,038 votes in Lowell) defeated Democrat Martha Coakley (1,004,408, with 10,478 in Lowell). In the Democratic Primary, Coakley (229,156) defeated Steven Grossman (196,594) and Donald M. Berwick (113,988). In the Republican Primary, Baker (116,004) defeated Mark R. Fisher (40,240).

Incumbent Deval Patrick did not seek reelection.

2018

Governor – Charlie Baker. In the general election, Republican incumbent Charlie Baker (1,781,341 with 16,349 in Lowell) defeated Democrat Jay Gonzalez (885,770 with 6,528 in Lowell). In the Democratic Primary, Gonzalez (348,353) defeated Robert K. Massie (192,375). In the Republican Primary, Baker (174,126) defeated Scott D. Lively (98,421).

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The above information is an excerpt from my book, Lowell State Elections: 1970-2020, which provides 50 years of state election results in Lowell including all statewide offices, all county offices, and all Congressional, State Senate, and State Representative races that include Lowell. The book is available for purchase online.

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