BOSTON -- After a fierce campaign that was dubbed the "battle of the blue bloods," Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry won a third Senate term with surprising ease last night, defeating the state's popular Gov. William F. Weld, a moderate Republican.
Polls had called the race a dead heat right down to election eve. But Kerry won by a wider margin than expected, 53 percent to 44 percent.
"I'm not stupid. I got the message," Weld said in an exuberant, gracious concession speech. "The message is: I'm a real good governor and I should stick to that."
Kerry, pumping his fist in the air, quoted the Grateful Dead, one of Weld's favorite bands: "What a long, strange trip this has been," the senator said.
In the campaign, Kerry said, "I learned more from all of you -- about you, about politics and about myself -- than in any run I have ever made. I will be a much better senator in the next six years because of those lessons."
Like Bob Dole, Weld apparently was plagued by a gender gap. Women voters by a wide margin favored Kerry, who talked about education, health care and the environment. Weld focused on crime, taxes and welfare reform.
The race between two patrician candidates -- Weld graduated from Harvard, Kerry from Yale -- was one of the most closely watched in the country.
Kerry, a Vietnam War hero who came home to organize Vietnam Veterans Against the War in the early 1970s, was viewed as the more distant of the candidates.
The amiable Weld is a fiscal conservative who is progressive on social issues.
Pub Date: 11/06/96