Hundreds of delegates wined and dined at the expense of gubernatorial aspirants at the Sheraton Boston last night on the eve of the state Republican pre-primary convention. The non-binding convention will officially begin today when the 1,446 selected representatives gather to endorse a slate of candidate for state wide offices.
While seven nominations are up for grabs, the race for governor is attracting the most attention. Five candidates are contesting the race, but only two--Westwood businessman John R. Lakian and House Minority Leader William G. Robinson are actively competing in today's activities
A Boston Globe survey earlier this week indicated that Lakian holds a two-to-one lead over Robinson in the delegate count, and a Lakian aide said last night they had already "gone over the top" and would win a first-ballot victory.
But Robinson has refuted the survey and said last night it is still a "horserace" Predicting that no candidate will win a first-ballot victory. Robinson aides say thay they will take it on the second or third tally.
The party's official nominee will not be decided until the September primary Lakian has said, however, that he will drop out of the race if he does not win the convention. Robinson and the other three candidates--House Minority Whip Andrew Card of Holbrook, former Boston city councillor John W. Sears '52 and former Metropolitan District commissioner Guy Carbone--have all said they will run in the primary no matter how the balloting results.
All five held "hospitality suites" last night where delegates circulated, shook hands, and drank. Lakian and Robinson sponsored the fanciest receptions, the fanciest wines, and live bands. Both candidates met privately with delegates throughout the night. Card, who said, "The convention is not an important part of my campaign strategy," provided beer in paper cups, pretzels, and potato chips.
The other major race at this year's convention is for the senatorial nomination. Two candidates--Boston doctor Mildred Jefferson and businessman Ray Shaime--are fighting to run against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54. That contest, at this point, is considered a loss up.