William Weld

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Weld, William F.

Republican Governor of Massachusetts, 1991-1997, best known for his daring and nearly successful 1996 bid to unseat Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1990, ending 16 years of Democratic control of the governorship. An inordinately popular figure in a traditional Democratic stronghold, Weld was considered by many to be the perfect candidate to challenge the iconic Sen. Edward Kennedy in 1994. He did not enter the race, instead seeking re-election as governor. Two years later, he challenged John Kerry, then a two-term Senator, for the seat. An articulate and quick-witted campaigner, Weld quickly gained a lead over Kerry. Afraid for his seat, Kerry challenged Weld to a series of eight debates. Forced into a defensive position on many of the issues, Weld saw his lead evaporate, and on election day, Kerry won a third term.

Weld governed as a moderate; he agreed with the Democrats on most social issues, including abortion. Many in his own party detested him for this, and Weld was branded as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). He resigned the governorship in 1997 in order to pursue his nomination as Ambassador to Mexico, which, some charged, was a calculated move by President Clinton to keep Weld at bay. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jesse Helms, blocked the nomination, but Weld pressed fruitlessly for the job for months.

Afterwards, Weld moved to New York City and joined a law practice. He also embarked on a writing career, publishing several mystery novels.

Weld is a graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar).

Weld is seeking the Republican nomination for Governor of New York in the 2006 election.

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