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Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1986


Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1986

Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1986

November 3, 1986

Nominee Michael Dukakis George Kariotis
Party Democratic Republican
Running mate Evelyn Murphy Nicholas Nikitas
Popular vote 1,157,786 525,364
Percentage 65.15% 29.56%

Results by town. Red indicates towns carried by George Kariotis, blue indicates towns carried by Michael Dukakis.

Governor before election

Michael Dukakis

Elected Governor

Michael Dukakis

The 1986 Massachusetts gubernatorial election was held on November 4, 1986. George Kariotis by a 65-30% margin.


  • Republicans 1
  • Democrats 2
  • General election 3
  • References 4


Nicholas M. Nikitas, a hotel operator, real estate developer, and Republican Party activist, declared his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor on January 12, 1986. At the time he entered the race, no one Republican had announced their candidacy for Governor.[1]

Former Democratic Governor Edward J. King, now a member of the Republican party, declined to face Dukakis in a third consecutive election, citing personal and business reasons.[2]

On March 13, lawyer and political activist Greg Hyatt became the first Republican to enter the gubernatorial race. A self-described "populist conservative", Hyatt supported limiting state taxes, bringing back the death penalty, and competency testing and merit pay for teachers. He opposed the state law that made wearing a seat belt mandatory, the use of roadblocks to crack down on drunken driving, and the use of public funds for abortions.[3]

Shortly before the Republican convention, Boston attorney and former Metropolitan District Commissioner Guy Carbone entered the race.[4]

The convention nomination was won by Royall H. Switzler, a state representative who had been drafted by anti-Hyatt Republicans after former Congressman Paul W. Cronin decided not to enter the race.[5] After a strong showing on the first ballot (891 votes for Hyatt, 775 votes for Switzler, 258 votes for Carbone), some of Hyatt's major supporters, including Ray Shamie and Papa Gino's founder Michael Valerio, announced that they would not oppose Switzler's nomination.[5] On the second ballot, Switzler won the nomination with 975 votes to Hyatt's 876 and Carbone's 60. Despite losing the nomination, Hyatt chose to stay in the race and run against Switzler in the Republican primary.[6]

Switzler dropped out of the race in June after inaccuracies about his military record were revealed. He had falsely claimed to be a member of the United States Army Special Forces and stated that he had fought in Vietnam when he had only visited Vietnam on leave from noncombat duty in Korea.[7]

Hyatt dropped out of the race on July 14 amid accusations of forging names on his nomination papers, having ties to organized crime, and erratic personal behavior which included working nude in his office. [8][9]

Businessman and former Secretary of Economic Affairs George Kariotis entered the race after both candidates dropped out. Because the filing deadline for the election was on March 1, Hyatt and Switzler remained on the ballot while Kariotis was forced to run a write in campaign. Hyatt won the election, but he and Switzler, who finished second, declined the nomination and Kariotis was declared the nominee.

Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial primary, 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Greg Hyatt 31,021 48.19%
Republican Royall Switzler 20,802 32.32%
Republican George Kariotis (Write-in) 11,787 18.31%


Michael Dukakis ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor in 1982, did not run for reelection as he had been elected to the United States Senate in 1984. Former Environmental Affairs Secretary Evelyn Murphy and State Senator Gerard D'Amico ran for the Democratic nomination.

Massachusetts Democratic Lt. gubernatorial primary, 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Evelyn Murphy 374,714 60.10%
Democratic Gerard D'Amico 248,671 39.89%

General election

Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Michael Dukakis (Evelyn Murphy) 1,157,786 65.15%
Republican Nicholas Nikitas) 525,364 29.56%


  1. ^ "Sign's '?' on Governor Answered, Massachusetts G.O.P. Seeks End to Slide". New York Times. February 16, 1986. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  2. ^ Associated Press (January 24, 1986). "Former Governor King decides not to challenge Dukakis again next fall". Providence Journal. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  3. ^ Bruce Mohl (March 14, 1986). "GOP'S Hyatt Announces Candidacy for Governor". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  4. ^ Bruce Mohl (April 5, 1986). "Guy Carbone Announces GOP Run for Governor". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  5. ^ a b Andrew J. Dabilis (April 13, 1986). Hours"12"Switzler Drive Put Together in 4. Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  6. ^ Bruce Mohl (April 14, 1986). "GOP'S Gears Set in Motion; Switzler Plots Strategy, Signals Hyatt Should Quit". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  7. ^ Bruce Mohl (June 5, 1986). "ACCUSATIONS, TURMOIL SWIRL OVER SWITZLER". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  8. ^ Bruce Mohl (October 18, 1986). "ADS DEPICT TAX CAP AS A HYATT PROPOSAL". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  9. ^ "Hey, gang! It's all over!". Nashua Telegraph. July 17, 1986. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
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