After twelve years of Republican governors, Democrats were anxious to win the state’s highest office in 2002. Paul Cellucci had resigned to become US Ambassador to Canada leaving Lt Governor Jane Swift as the state’s chief executive. Although Swift planned to run for election in her own right in 2002, Mitt Romney emerged as the Republican favorite and Swift faded away.
The Democrats had five candidates: Senate President Tom Birmingham, State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, former head of Democratic National Committee Steve Grossman and State Senator Warren Tolman. O’Brien won the primary with 243,039 to Reich’s 185,315, Birmingham’s 179,793, Tolman’s 132,157 and Grossman’s 5976 (????). In Lowell, Birmingham received 3428, O’Brien 2024, Tolman 1333 and Reich 1190.
In the general election, the Republican ticket of Romney and Kerry Healey defeated Democrats Shannon O’Brien and Chris Gabrielli, 1,091,988 to 985,981. In Lowell, O’Brien prevailed 10,085 to Romney’s 9997.
While Gabrielli and Healey were the ultimate nominees for Lieutenant Governor, both won contested primaries. Gabrielli received 306,121 to Lois Pines’ 205,208 and John Slattery’s 150,313. On the Republican side, Healey defeated Jim Rappaport, 159,667 to 88,061.
In other races, John Kerry was re-elected US Senator with nominal opposition from Libertarian Michael Cloud; Tom Reilly was unopposed in his re-election as Attorney General as was Auditor Joe DeNucci. Incumbent Secretary of State Bill Galvin won re-election by a wide margin over Republican Jack E Robinson.
A number of candidates sought to succeed incumbent Treasurer Shannon O’Brien who was running for governor. On the strength of his daughter’s “Tim for Treasurer” radio commercials, Tim Cahill won the Democratic primary with 226,505 votes to James Segel’s 153,940, Stephen Murphy’s 135,612, and Michael Cahill’s 116,737. On the Republican side, Dan Grabauskas defeated Bruce Herzfelder, 110,690 to 96,851. Cahill won the general election, 1,040,281 to 848,904.
In the Fifth Congressional District, Marty Meehan easily won a three-way race against Republican Charles McCarthy and Libertarian Ilana Freedman. Marilyn Devaney was unopposed in the re-election as Governor’s Councillor. Steve Panagiotakos easily defeated Republican Brooks Lyman for State Senate. In the House, all three Lowell representatives won re-election against Republican opponents. Tom Golden (whose district now included parts of Chelmsford after that town’s historic seat in the house was broken up by redistricting) defeated Harry Garavanian, 8080 to 3141; Dave Nangle defeated Cliff Krieger, 6547 to 1924; and Keven Murphy defeated John Charow, 4364 to 1319.
In Middlesex County races, Martha Coakley was re-elected District Attorney without opposition. John Buonomo, who was elected to serve an unexpired term as Register of Probate was elected to a full term, defeating Diane Poulos Harpell in the Democratic primary and Republican John Lambert in the general election.