In 1998, Paul Cellucci ran for re-election as Governor after ascending to the office when Bill Weld resigned in the midst of his second term. In the Republican primary, Cellucci was challenged by State Treasurer Joe Malone. Statewide, Cellucci received 136,258 votes to Malone’s 95,963. In Lowell, Cellucci defeated Malone 1015 to 674. The Democratic primary featured Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, former Senate President Pat McGovern, and Congressman Brian Donnelly. Statewide, Harshbarger prevailed receiving 306,883 votes to McGovern’s 189,686 and Donnelly’s 101,984. In Lowell, the Democratic primary results were Harshbarger 4133; McGovern 3592 and Donnelly 1536. In the general election, Cellucci and his running mate Jane Swift defeated Harshbarger and his running mate Warren Tolman, 967,160 to 901,843. In Lowell, Cellucci also prevailed, 9589 to 8846.
For the office of Lieutenant Governor, for the Democrats, Warren Tolman defeated Dorothy Kelly Gay, 270,791 to 23,250 (4177 to 3502 in Lowell). For the Republicans, Jane Swift defeated Janet Jeghelian, 116,476 to 97,411 (830 to 737 in Lowell).
In the elections for the other Constitutional offices, Middlesex DA Tom Reilly and State Senator Lois Pines both sought the Democratic nomination for Attorney General with Reilly winning, 309,332 to 277,588 (5911 to 3317 in Lowell). In the general election, Reilly defeated Republican Brad Bailey, 1,218,244 to 604,700 (13,208 to 5228 in Lowell). For Secretary of State, Democratic incumbent Bill Galvin defeated Republican Dale Jenkins, 1,252,912 to 451,556 (13,658 to 3301 in Lowell). For Treasurer, Democratic incumbent Shannon O’Brien defeated Republican Robert Maginn, 1,129,757 to 626,286 (12,274 to 5058 in Lowell). For Auditor, Democratic incumbent Joe DeNucci defeated Republican Michael Duffy, 1,154,829 to 531,363 (12,624 to 4222 in Lowell).
In the Fifth Congressional District, Marty Meehan defeated David Coleman, 127,418 to 52,725 with Meehan also prevailing in Lowell, 15,155 to 3333.
State Senator Steve Panagiotakos was unopposed as was State Representative Tom Golden. State Representative Kevin Murphy prevailed over Patrick O’Connor in the Democratic primary, 1877 to 514. Murphy was unopposed in the general election. In Chelmsford, Republican incumbent Carol Clevin defeated Democratic selectman Bill Dalton 8038 to 6504. In the 2nd Essex & Middlesex Senate District (Tewksbury, Dracut, Andover and Lawrence), incumbent John O’Brien withdrew from the race after the nomination period had passed, so the Democratic primary became a sticker campaign. Sue Tucker prevailed, receiving 3272 votes to Fred Simon’s 2209, David O’Brien’s 1804 and Jack Wilson’s 1180. In the general election, Tucker defeated Republican Kevin Anderson, 23,464 to 14,879.
The race that gained the most attention in Lowell was in the 18th Middlesex Rep District which had been held by Ed LeLacheur for many years. In the Democratic Primary, Dave Nangle prevailed, receiving 1268 votes to Bill Martin’s 1045, Steve Geary’s 978, Rita Mericer’s 817, Karin Theodoros’s 766 and Scott Consaul’s 291. In the general election, Nangle defeated Republican Karen Simao, 5780 to 3703.
Other contested races in 1998 included the office of Middlesex District Attorney. In the Democratic primary, Martha Coakley received 80,603 votes to Michael Sullivan’s 46,195 and Tim Flaherty’s 41,254. In Lowell, the results were Sullivan 3371, Coakley 3285 and Flaherty 2194. In the general election, Coakley defeated Republican Lee Johnson, 307,209 to 126,632. In the Middlesex County Sheriff’s race, incumbent Jim DiPaola who had been elected two years earlier to serve out the unexpired term of John McGonigle, defeated Ed Kennedy of Lowell, 101,924 to 52,772. In Lowell, Kennedy prevailed 4597 to 4507.
The 3rd District Governor’s Council became an open seat in 1998 when Cynthia Creem ran for State Senate. In the Democratic Primary, Marilyn Petitto Devaney of Watertown prevailed, receiving 12,541 votes (337 in Lowell) followed by Ruth Nemzoff of Newton (12,181 / 219), Frank Talty of Lowell (11,010 / 5798), Howard Goldstein of Newton (8725 / 218), John Costello of Weston (7776 / 660), Ginny Allan of Sudbury (7595 / 343), Garrett Barry of Belmont (6036 / 330) and Leonard Golder of Stow (3373 / 323). In the general election, Devaney defeated Republican John DeJong, 132,876 to 80,899 (11,423 to 4596 in Lowell).