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  •   Governor, Attorney General Win Massachusetts Primary

    Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) and his running mate, Jane Swift (R)
    Massachusetts' GOP gubernatorial ticket, Gov. Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift, declare victory at a Boston rally Sept. 15. (Reuters)
    By Leslie Miller
    Associated Press Writer
    Wednesday, September 16, 1998; 2:51 a.m. EDT

    BOSTON (AP) — A little-known mayor in a crowded race won the Democratic nomination for one of Massachusetts' most prominent House districts, defeating former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn and some deep-pocketed opponents.

    Michael Capuano, mayor of working-class Somerville, won Tuesday's primary in the 8th District, a Democratic stronghold that was the launching place for the political careers of John F. Kennedy and Tip O'Neill. With 95 of precincts reporting, he had 18,874 votes, or 23 percent of the total.

    Flynn, the one-time front-runner, was second with 13,948 votes, or 17 percent.

    Voters also put Democratic Attorney General Scott Harshbarger up against acting Gov. Paul Cellucci, one of the Republican governors that national Democrats consider vulnerable.

    With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Harshbarger had 296,212 votes, or 51 percent, in a three-way race. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Cellucci received 129,662 votes, or 58 percent, against state Treasurer Joseph Malone, who had 93,344 votes, or 42 percent.

    Somerville Mayor Mike Capuano (D)
    Somerville Mayor Mike Capuano greets supporters at a rally after winning the Democratic nomination for the 8th District U.S. House seat. (Reuters)
    Capuano, who last fall won his fifth term as Somerville's mayor, waged an old-fashioned, meet-and-greet campaign where organization seemed to count more than cash in the battle to succeed Democratic Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, who is retiring after six terms.

    There were 10 candidates.

    With two weeks to go, Capuano's campaign had spent $200,001. Venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli spent nearly $4 million of his own money and got just 6 percent of the vote. Millionaire activist John O'Connor, a first-time candidate, had 13 percent.

    "Unbelievable," Capuano said. "We did it the old-fashioned way. ... We went one-on-one knocking on doors."

    Capuano is heavily favored against Republican R. Philip Hyde in November.

    Cellucci campaigned in part on the successes of his popular predecessor, former Gov. William Weld, who resigned to pursue his failed bid to become ambassador to Mexico.

    "Massachusetts has come a long way in the last eight years. Why? Because Bill Weld and I brought a new approach to governing this state," he said.

    Cellucci touted the passage of 28 tax cuts during the Weld-Cellucci administration. He took credit for helping the state budget – and the economy – recover after the hard times of the early 1990s.

    His campaign against Malone turned bitter in the race's final weeks when Malone questioned Cellucci's personal debt.

    Former state Sen. Jane Swift – who was criticized by conservative groups for running while she is pregnant – won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

    © Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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