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Patrick Wins Mass. Primary

The Democrat would become the state's first black governor if he wins in November. Cantwell wins in Washington state.

September 20, 2006|From the Associated Press

BOSTON — Deval Patrick, a Democrat making his first run for elective office and a bid to become Massachusetts' first black governor, beat two opponents in Tuesday's gubernatorial primary to win a place in November's general election.

Patrick, 50, headed the Justice Department's civil rights division under President Clinton. He will face Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the Republican nominee.

Boston venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli, 46, who spent more than $8 million of his fortune on the campaign, was second, and state Atty. Gen. Tom Reilly, once the prohibitive favorite, came in a distant third.

Meanwhile, in Washington state, freshman Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, considered by some to be vulnerable in November, and her GOP challenger, Mike McGavick, defeated their little-known rivals in their respective primaries.

In addition to Healey, Patrick will face independent candidates Christy Mihos and Grace Ross of the Green-Rainbow Party in November.

Healey was unopposed in the nomination for governor.

If Patrick wins the general election, he would be the second black elected governor in the United States, after L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia in 1989. However, no Democrat has been elected governor in this bluest of blue states since Michael S. Dukakis 20 years ago.

Reilly and Gabrieli conceded the race to Patrick.

Patrick was receiving about 49% of the vote, Gabrieli 27% and Reilly 23%.

"Hey folks, we gave it everything we had. It just didn't work out for us," Reilly said. Patrick "has my congratulations and he has my support. It's time to end 16 years of Republican governors, and I will help him do that," Reilly said.

Republican Gov. Mitt Romney decided not to seek reelection and is instead considering running for president in 2008.

Reilly, 64, started the year as the front-runner but took a beating after he acknowledged calling a district attorney investigating the alcohol-related crash of the daughters of a campaign donor. Then the state lawmaker he picked as his running mate quit after one day, following disclosure of unpaid taxes and student loans.

The Democrats clashed over taxes and immigration, with Patrick warning that a cut in income taxes would put pressure on property taxes and backing a proposal to allow the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates.

In Washington state, Cantwell, 47, like Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, faced a revolt from antiwar activists in her party. But she tried to distance herself from her vote in favor of the Iraq war, and she neutralized an antiwar rival by hiring him.

The state generally leans Democratic, which would favor Cantwell in November.

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