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Gay Aide Joins Mass. GOP Ticket

January 04, 2002|From Associated Press

BOSTON — Acting Gov. Jane Swift picked a gay staff member who has served as legislator and suburban mayor as her running mate in the 2002 election, dismissing questions about their youthfulness and disagreement over gay marriage.

Swift, 36, a Republican, announced her selection of Patrick C. Guerriero, 33, on Thursday.

"It is a great challenge to be your running mate, and I accept it," Guerriero said.

Guerriero will challenge millionaire James Rappaport, the former state GOP chairman and the only declared Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, in the September primary.

Swift had publicly stated she does not want to run with the more conservative Rappaport, citing personality differences. She took a jab at him at Thursday's news conference, saying she was happy to be running with someone who never lost an election. Rappaport was defeated by U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry in the 1990 race for Senate.

Rappaport said Guerriero was a "nice young fellow" but labeled himself the more experienced candidate.

Guerriero, an advocate for gay rights, works on the governor's staff as a liaison with municipal officials and helped persuade Swift to delay cuts in local aid last year. He is also an established Republican, having served as mayor in the Boston suburb of Melrose and three terms in the state House.

Swift had been turned down by two other men, one a county sheriff, the other a district attorney, before picking Guerriero as her running mate.

On Thursday, Guerriero and Swift echoed the themes that will mark their campaign: lowering taxes and strengthening education. They said they agreed to disagree on the issue of gay marriage, which Guerriero supports and Swift opposes.

Candidates for lieutenant governor and governor technically do not run as a ticket in state primaries, but Republicans have teamed up for political and financial strength.

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