Democrat Michael S. Dukakis defeated Republican Governor Francis W. Sargent in a landslide victory that led a total Democratic sweep of Massachusetts' statewide offices.
Dukakis and his running mate for lieutenant governor Thomas P. O'Neill III never relinquished their substantial early lead which grew to 175,000 vote margin with 74 per cent of the precincts reporting. Many traditionally Republican strongholds shifted to Dukakis, bringing a Sargent concession by 10:00 p.m.
Former Democratic lt. gov. Francis X Bellotti closely defeated Republican Josiah Spaulding for the office of attorney general. Bellotti moved ahead early in the race but the gap narrowed with 45 per cent of the precincts reporting, Bellotti led by 20,000 votes, 344,369 to 325,722.
State Rep. Paul L. Guzzi '64 (D-Newton) crushed Sen. John M. Quinlan (R-Norwood) in a hotly contested race for Secretary of State. Guzzi established a 2-1 lead early in the evening and with 62 per cent of the precincts reporting, he led Quinlan, 656,756 to 343,459.
Despite yesterday's rain, a heavy voter turnout estimated to be between 70 and 80 per cent helped Dukakis roll up a surprisingly large margin over Sargent returning the governorship to the democrats for the first time in a decade.
In his acceptance speech Dukakis thanked several hundred jubilant supporters for the "finest grass roots effort" in Massachusetts history and said his victory was "the dawn of a new era" in the state's government.
"Its just a beginning," Dukakis said, and he repeated his campaign-promise to insure "the finest government this state has ever had."
"We set some very high standards, we felt this state ought to be the best in the nation," Dukakis said, "and the citizens have responded to that message loud and clear."
Governor Sargent, in his concession speech, attributed his defeat to "the price of hamburg," and "a national tide which was running against virtually every Republican."
Sargent became governor six years ago when John A. Volpe resigned the job to join the Nixon cabinet, leaving the office to Sargent, then his lieutenant governor. Sargent, who is 59 years old, defeated former state representative Dukakis four years ago when he ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Boston Mayor Kevin H. White.
Mass. Congressional Races
In Massachusetts U.S. House races, Democrats gained one seat as Middlesex County Commissioner Paul E. Tsongas defeat Republican incumbent Paul N. Cronin in the 5th district. Democrat Joseph D. Early retained retiring 3rd district Rep. Harold D. Donahue's seat for the Democrats.
Incumbents Silvio O. Conte (R.) in the 1st district, Edward P. Boland (D.) in the 2nd, Robert F. Drinan (D.) in the 4th, Michael J. Harrington '58 (D.) in the 6th, Torbert H. MacDonald '40 in the 7th, Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. (D.) in the 8th, John J. Moakley (D.) in the 9th, Margaret M. Heckler (R.) in the 10th, James A. Burke (D.) in the 11th and Gerry E. Studds (D.) in the 12th district all won re-election