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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 the governor's term of office was extended from two to four years.

Democratic primary


  • Joseph G. Bradley, State Representative
  • Edward F. Harrington, Mayor of New Bedford
  • George P. Macheras, Lowell City Councilor
  • Rico Matera, former State Representative
  • Joseph Alecks
  • James A. DeGuglielmo
  • Daniel Dibble, Mayor of Holyoke
  • Thomas S. Eisenstadt, member of the Boston School Committee
  • George H. O'Fannell, State Representative
  • Andre R. Sigourney, State Representative
  • Mario Umana, State Senator
  • Harold L. Vaughn

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 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 to win the nomination. The same happened on the third (687 votes for Costello to McGuire's 656 and Umana's 172). 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.[4]

Costello was unopposed for the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

Republican primary


Volpe ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

Richardson ran unopposed in the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor.

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.[5]

Former United States Attorney Elliot L. Richardson defeated executive councillor John W. Costello in the race for lieutenant governor.[7]

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