Perhaps the biggest development of this week's election came when the Senate's only black member, Sen. Edward W. Brooke (R.-Mass.), was forced to concede defeat early Tuesday night to Rep. Paul E. Tsongas (D.-Mass.) in an election that has prompted many blacks into feelings of bitterness towards white liberals who, they feel, betrayed the two-term incumbent.
Brooke's support may have been eroding over the past several years, according to the polls, and a candidate with as strong a liberal record as Tsongas offered Democrats the opportunity, for the first time in recent history, to gain two Senate seats in Massachusetts.
Tsongas, a 37-year-old Greek-American from Lowell, maintains strong positions against apartheid in South Africa, and has compiled a consistent liberal record on the SALT negotiations and nuclear power issues.
Tsongas's overwhelming victory (55 per cent to Brooke's 45 per cent) nonetheless surprised both candidates.
Cambridge City Councilor and State Rep. Saundra Graham said yesterday the black communities turned out in full force to vote for Brooke, but their votes could not compensate for the large number of white liberals who deserted Brooke to vote for Tsongas.
Brooke won his home territory, Newton, by a narrow 2600-vote margin.
Bitter summer-long hassles over Brooke's financial "misstatement" in his divorce proceedings with his wife Remigia played no small role in putting the temporary halt to the Senator's political career.
The senatorial campaign noticeably lacked any mudslinging tactics, but the effects remain to be seen, State Rep. Barney Frank said yesterday. "This election has made a lot of blacks very angry," Frank said, adding that there are many local white politicians who will find themselves without the black vote next time around.
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