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A Swift Change In The Gubernatorial Race

A Swift Change In The Gubernatorial RaceActing Governor Jane Swift's decision to drop her bid to remain in the Statehouse is both surprising and unusual for an incumbent, says Tufts political science expert James Glaser.

Boston [03.20.02] In a matter of just a few hours on Tuesday, the political landscape of the Massachusetts gubernatorial race changed dramatically. In a surprise announcement, Acting Governor Jane Swift ended her bid to remain at the helm of the Statehouse, stunning the state's government leaders and political experts alike.

"In an emotional address, the nation's youngest chief executive said she could not successfully juggle the increasing -- and often competing -- duties of gubernatorial candidate, chief executive and mother," reported the Washington Post.

Swift, who has three young daughters, made her announcement during a noon press conference yesterday.

"There isn't a working parent in America that hasn't faced it," Swift said. "When the demands of the two tasks that you take on both increase substantially, something has to give."

The decision was surprising to Tufts' James Glaser, chair of the University's political science department.

"Incumbent politicians really rarely see the writing on the wall," Glaser told the New York Times. "Incumbents usually persist, and when they lose, they blame the press, but they rarely back out."

Even though recent polls indicated Swift was facing a tough campaign, and political insiders expected Republican Mitt Romney -- the popular president of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics organizing committee -- to announce his candidacy, there were no indications that the Governor had any plans to drop out of the race.

"Just days ago, Swift seemed resolved to stay in the race, coming out swinging at Romney at the state's traditional round of St. Patrick's Day political jokefests," reported the Times.

Her decision to drop out pits Romney against the winner of the crowded Democratic field, which includes five strong candidates. Among them: "the state treasurer, state Senate president, a former state senator, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and a former United States secretary of labor," reported the Times.

Romney's popularity and reputation make him an attractive candidate for Massachusetts Republicans, who appeared to heavily favor his candidacy over Swift's, Glaser said.

"The governor's office is the only thing that stands between Republicans and oblivion in this state," Glaser told the Times, noting that most of the state's voters are Democrats. "And they have here a fellow who's got this patriotic, non-political glow about him, a highly attractive candidate coming off of a perceived success. That's just too tempting for Republicans."

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