BOSTON — A 32-year-old lawyer who had come under fire almost from the start of his Republican gubernatorial campaign withdrew from the race today, leaving Democratic Gov. Michael S. Dukakis without an opponent in the November election.
In a two-paragraph statement, Gregory Hyatt said he consulted with relatives and advisers before deciding to drop out of the race but gave no details on the reason.
"Upon advice of counsel, I will have no further comment on this matter. I will spend the next few months of my time clearing my name and seeking vindication," the statement concluded.
For weeks, a special panel of leading Republicans has been searching for a replacement candidate with greater stature. To date, the search committee has not found an alternative. Another GOP candidate dropped out after admitting lying about his military service record.
Hyatt's political problems began shortly after he announced his campaign on Feb. 10.
Ten days later, officials of Associated Builders and Contractors announced that they had fired Hyatt the previous summer after he failed to mount a credible petition campaign to repeal the state's prevailing wage law.
Observed in the Nude
Association officers said Hyatt often stared into space and held imaginary telephone conversations. On April 9, the group alleged that a secretary twice saw Hyatt in the nude in the association's offices.
At the Republican state convention several days later, GOP leaders staged a revolt and refused to give Hyatt the party endorsement. Instead, they turned to veteran state Rep. Royall Switzler.
After the convention, Republicans pleaded with Hyatt to drop out and give Switzler a clear field. But Hyatt vowed to campaign on, as long as he could raise money.
Switzler withdrew from the contest last month after admitting that he had lied about his military service record.
On June 6, Democratic Party officials filed a challenge to Hyatt's nomination papers, saying he had forged signatures. The state Ballot Law Commission later determined that hundreds of signatures were bogus but allowed Hyatt to remain on the ballot because of technicalities.