Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1964 Article

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Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1964

←  1962 November 3, 1964 1966 →
  Volpe.gif Francis X. Bellotti.jpg
Nominee John Volpe Francis Bellotti
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,176,462 1,153,416
Percentage 50.27% 49.29%

Governor before election

Endicott Peabody

Elected Governor

John Volpe

The 1964 Massachusetts gubernatorial election was held on November 3, 1964. Former Governor John A. Volpe was elected to a two-year term. He defeated former Lieutenant Governor Francis X. Bellotti in the general election. [1]

The race between Volpe and Bellotti was the first time in Massachusetts history that the two major parties backed sons of Italian immigrants for governor. [2]

This was the final election held before Governor's Term of office was extended from two to four years.


There were fourteen Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor going into the convention. Before the balloting began, three candidates ( New Bedford Mayor Edward F. Harrington, Lowell City Councilor George P. Macheras, and former state representative Rico Matera) withdrew. On the first ballot, Massachusetts Governor's Councilor John W. Costello led with 428 votes to Worcester attorney and Industrial Accident Board member Joseph E. McGuire's 404, state senator Mario Umana's 250, and state representative Joseph G. Bradley's 112. The other seven candidates (James A. DeGuglielmo, Harold L. Vaughn, Boston school committee member Thomas S. Eisenstadt, state comptroller Joseph Alecks, Holyoke mayor Daniel F. Dibble, and state representatives Andre R. Sigourney and George H. O'Fannell.) received less than the 100 votes required to remain on the ballot and Bradley chose to drop out, which left Costello, McGuire, and Umana as the only remaining candidates. Costello led again on the second ballot, with 641 votes to McGuire's 600 and Umana's 343, but did not receive enough votes (733) to win the nomination. The same happened on the third (687 votes for Costello to McGuire's 656 and Umana's 172), however on the fourth ballot, Umana fell to 99 votes, which eliminated him from the contest. On the fifth and final ballot Costello won the party's endorsement by defeating McGuire 724 votes to 691. [3]


Incumbent governor Endicott Peabody was challenged by Lieutenant Governor Francis X. Bellotti, Middlesex County District Attorney John J. Droney, and Perennial candidate Pasquale Caggiano. [4] Bellotti won the primary despite Peabody having the backing of most of the Party leadership, including Peabody's longtime close friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. [5]

Volpe ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

1964 Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial primary [6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Francis X. Bellotti 363,675 49.61%
Democratic Endicott Peabody 336,780 45.94%
Democratic John J. Droney 27,357 3.73%
Democratic Pasquale Caggiano 5,250 0.72%

General election

Volpe defeated Bellotti by less than 25,000 votes. Volpe's victory came in a year in which Democrats gained seats in the United States House of Representatives and Senate and Lyndon Johnson won the Presidential election in a landslide. [7]

1964 Massachusetts gubernatorial election [8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John A. Volpe 1,176,462 50.27%
Democratic Francis X. Bellotti 1,153,416 49.29%
Socialist Labor Francis A. Votano 6,273 0.27%
Prohibition Guy S. Williams 3,713 0.16%
Write-in All others 266 0.01%

Former United States Attorney Elliot L. Richardson defeated executive councillor John W. Costello in the race for lieutenant governor. [9]

1964 Massachusetts Lt. gubernatorial election [10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Elliot L. Richardson 1,121,985 50.22%
Democratic John W. Costello 1,097,380 49.11%
Socialist Labor Edgar E. Gaudet 9,551 0.43%
Prohibition Prescott E. Grout 5,424 0.24%


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Democrats Close Ranks Behind Lt. Gov. Bellotti". Hartford Courant. September 12, 1964.
  3. ^ Hanron, Robert B. (June 21, 1964). "Democrats Wind It Up". The Boston Globe.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Nation". Los Angeles Times. September 13, 1964.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Republicans Gain One Governor's Mansion". Los Angeles Times. November 5, 1964.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^