When Democratic voters choose tomorrow between former U.S. Representative James M. Shannon and former assistant attorney general Jo Ann Shotwell, they not will not necessarily be choosing their next attorney general.
The winner of Tuesday's Democratic primary will face a serious Republican challenge from former U.S. Attorney and former Democrat Edward F. Harrington in November. However, in predominantly Democratic Massachusetts Harrington is considered to be a long shot.
Shannon, 34, is expected to beat Shotwell, 33, easily; according to one recent poll, Shannon is leading by a 55-13 percent margin.
Francis X. Bellotti, who is leaving the post of Attorney General after a 12-year stint, has declined to endorse any of the candidates. Shannon has received the support of Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, who praises the candidate's plans for drug enforcement.
Twelve years ago, Harrington, 52, lost the Democratic Primary for the same post to Belotti and switched parties to challenge Belotti again. Harrington says he will be tougher on white-collar and organized crime than was his Democratic predecessor.
Shannon has emphasized an attorney general's need for broad expertise, in drug trafficking, the environment, civil rights and insurance. Shotwell, in turn, highlights Shannon's limited courtroom experience.
Gov. Michael S. Dukakis's reputed Presidential ambitions have turned the normally glamorless office of lieutenant governor into a prize sought heatedly by three candidates.
The race between the two Democrats--former State Secretary for Environmental Affairs Evelyn Murphy and State Sen. Gerard D'Amico (D-Worcester)--ends tomorrow. Republican Nicholas Nikitas, a Reagan appointee to two commissions on education, is unopposed in the Republican primary.
John F. Kerry, who held the office previously, was elected to the United States Senate in 1984 and since then the seat has been vacant.
Although D'Amico, boasts many labor endorsements, recent polls have given Murphy the lead. The latest poll gives her 44 percent of the vote and D'Amico 23 percent.
D'Amico and Murphy have run unusually bitter campaigns, splitting alliances and endorsements. The governor, despite political ties to both, has admonished them for wrangling, while refusing to grant his sanction to either candidacy.
In the absence of strong ideological differences, images have become important: D'Amico's campaign has presented him as the rumpled, savvy pol with working-class roots and a common touch. Murphy plays the polished administrator, decisive and effective in the practice of a traditionally male profession.
Both subscribe to a basic liberal checklist of views, supporting minority, elderly and women's rights, opposing capital punishment and nuclear power. Each calls the other a hypocrite on all of the above issues.
Perhaps the only race in the state that is offering a tough political contest within both parties is for state auditor, a position that is little known by the voters but which carries a $60,000 paycheck.
The office of state auditor, which monitors and investigates whether the state should reimburse localities for mandated public programs, opened up when John Finnegan, who served as auditor for the last five years, announced his resignation last March.
Finnegan's surprise decision invited three Democratic party challengers and two leading Republican party figures to try for the post.
The man who is the contender to win the Democratic party nomination is former middle-weight boxing contender and current State Representative from Newtown, A. Joseph DeNucci. He holds a sizable lead over his two opponents, Maura Hennigan and Charles Yancey, who are both Boston City councillors.
Yancey, who is Black, has been boosted of late by the endorsement of the Boston Globe, which cited his long record in fiscal management when it chose the long-shot aspirant.
Hennigan has sizable campaign funds and has headed the subcommittee which oversees the Boston budget.
The Republican race revives what has been a long-standing political feud within the party between House Minority Leader William Robinson and Republican Party leader Andrew Natsios.
Natsios made an unsuccessful bid for Robinson's minority leadership position, while Robinson has been instrumental in trying to strip the party leadership from Natsios.
The two have split this state's minority support evenly, with one poll finding both favored by 44 percent of party members.
State Rep. Saundra Graham is less than worried about reelection from the 28th Middlesex Country District.
Her only opponent, 63-year-old Democrat Joseph Carson, says he would duplicate her progressive voting record if elected but claims superior "life experience" and education.
He was also her sole challenger in 1984, when she won her fifth consecutive term as a state representative.
Carson charges that Graham, who is serving her eighth two-year term on the Cambridge City Council, cannot serve properly in both elective offices.
He also questions Graham's credibility as a rent control activist. He claims her son bought a house in Cambridge last year and attempted to evict the tenants in order to move into it himself.
Graham has espoused activist causes in the Legislature and City Council. Her work includes advocacy for rent control, child care services, gay rights, and education reform.
Carson is the former owner and publisher of the short-lived Cambridge Free Press. He has never held public office "and probably never will." He has declined to specify his current occupation.
The district includes the Quad, but not Harvard Yard and the River Houses.
The Democratic candidate for Governor is unopposed in his own party and almost in the Republican Party as well.
Incumbent Gov. Michael S. Dukakis will run as a team with the winner of the Democratic primary race for Lieutenant Governor. He has endorsed neither of the two front-runners.
The Republican Party has endorsed a total of three challengers, each of whom has been subject to a political scandal.
Gregory S. Hyatt's candidacy was torpedoed a few days before the Republican State Convention by executives of a contractors' organization which had employed him. They accused him of incompetence and bizarre personal behavior.
State Rep. Royall Switzler (R-Wellesley) was nominated by a close second ballot at the April convention. He was later found to have falsified his Vietnam war record, and withdrew from the race. The current bearer of the party's endorsement, George Kariotis, owns a corporation which has been fined by the Environmental Protection Agency, but is relatively unscathed.
Middlesex County District Attorney Scott C. Harshbarger '64 is seeking a second term in his post after abandoning a bid for attorney general.
The Cambridge resident's only Democratic opponent is Stephen McGrail of Wakefield, a former state senator.
The challenger, who is not predicted to win, persistently criticizes the Harshbarger's handling of money confiscated from drug dealers, normally spent only for drug enforcement.
When Harshbarger decided to seek reelection, several candidates, including some of his supporters, dropped their efforts to succeed him.