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  In Massachusetts, a Race That’s Anything but Typical
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ContributorArmyDem 
Last EditedArmyDem  Sep 20, 2006 10:49pm
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CategoryNews
MediaNewspaper - New York Times
News DateFriday, September 22, 2006 04:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy PAM BELLUCK
Published: September 21, 2006

BOSTON, Sept. 20 — The major candidates for governor here have signature attributes of generations of Massachusetts politicians. They have Irish surnames and Harvard degrees, and both rose to financial prosperity from humbler origins.

But this election bears little resemblance to a classic Massachusetts race.

If elected, the Democratic candidate, Deval L. Patrick, who headed the Justice Department civil rights division under President Bill Clinton, would become the state’s first African-American governor, and the second black governor in the country.

The Republican, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, would be the first woman elected to the state’s highest position.

Beyond its statewide significance, the race could also affect the 2008 presidential election. With Gov. Mitt Romney widely considered a likely presidential contender, what happens to his lieutenant governor, and how the Romney administration is portrayed in the campaign, could help or hurt his chances.

“This is a marquee election that has all sorts of interesting implications,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a history professor at Boston University. “One thing that’s interesting is the politics of race. Are voters prepared in Massachusetts to vote for an African-American governor?
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