Soap opera has entered a gubernatorial campaign for the first time. Paul A. Dever, Governor Robert F. Bradford's opponent in the Massachusetts fight, has sent sirupy attacks by radio housewives out on the air waves during the past few weeks in technology's latest contribution to American politics. The ladies have chatted mainly about the high cost of living, criticizing Governor Bradford for allowing price hikes on 400 necessities of life. On billboards and in Dever's own oratory, prices have been the central issue. But the Governor is against the veteran," one lady said recently. She went on to blast Bradford's vote of a bill giving civil service pay to gold star mothers and war widows, and his veto of a bill allowing paraplegics $500 yearly.
Dever's campaign also involves the tricky Massachusetts Transit Authority question. He has accused the MTA--and Bradford--of hiding a $9,000,000 deficit and of jacking up fares. Dever says the Republicans have failed to supply the Commonwealth with cheap water power. Referenda 5, 6, and 7, the labor bills, are pet peeves of Dever, and he has criticized the Governor's support of a 2 percent sales tax.
Bradford's campaign will be less pleasing to organized labor and the left wing in general. He stands mainly on his State House accomplishments, which include a $200,000,000 veterans housing program; efficient balancing of the state budget; no state tax on municipalities; juvenile delinquency aid; support of local education, and a long-range plan for highway reconstruction.
Although Bradford has hollered less than ever this fall, he will be a tough man to beat. He ousted Maurice Tobin by 148,408 votes in 1946, and his record since then has been clean, if not startling. This does not mean he will breeze in, however. Dever has the political bright fortune to be a self-made man who worked his way through school to become state Attorney General in 1935. In this post he busted trusts, pulled down $8,000,000 for the Commonwealth on the Brink case alone, and piled up a record that was 95 percent victorious. In 1940 Dev-came within 5,588 votes of the Governorship and lost as lieutenant governor by only 6,787 six years later.
Whether Dever can beat out Bradford is quite doubtful, but he cannot go far wrong. In the eyes of Massachusetts housewives he will take his place beside Pepper Young, Just Plain Bill, and Papa Goldberg as one of radio's daytime dream men.