The outcome of John "Joe" Moakley's challenge to incumbent congresswoman Louise Day Hicks in the newly-drawn 9th District remained uncertain at 1 a.m.
With virtually all of the city precincts reporting. Hicks held a 300-vote margin in returns from her old 9th District city precincts. Returns from the newly added suburban areas, where votes were can by paper ballots, were not expected for two more hours.
Moakley's precinct researches said early in the evening that his election could hinge on his showing in the city precincts. They counted most strongly out support from Roxbury and other black neighborhood which registered in 80 per cent turnout at the polls.
Early returns were not favorable for Moakley, especially in his and Hick's own neighborhood which Hicks won by over 2000 votes.
The crowd at the Statler Hilton ballroom broke into cheers and dancing at 10:15 p.m. when returns from the South End's ward 4 pushed Moakley ailed for the first time. The lower class ethnic and racially mixed neighborhood handed Moakley all but one of its precincts.
Appearing at 11:15 Moakley told the crowd that he was optimistic "I have a victory speech, but I'll postpone it for a couple of hours when the suburban votes come in," he said.
Moakley researches expected suburban rules to give him the election, but these votes remained the unknown factor until early in the morning. "When I'm elected tomorrow, we're going to put voting machines out in those towns," Moakley said.