August 19, 2005


Weld Tries Again to Be Governor, but in New York (PATRICK D. HEALY, 8/19/05, NY Times)

William F. Weld, the colorful former Republican governor of Massachusetts, said yesterday that he planned to run for the same job in New York next year, hoping his platform of tax cuts and social liberalism will make him the first two-state leader since Sam Houston.

Mr. Weld, a native New Yorker who is now an investment adviser in Manhattan, said he had been encouraged to run by former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, an old friend, among others. Karl Rove, the White House political adviser, who worked for Mr. Weld in the 1990's, had also told him to consider running against Eliot Spitzer, the likely Democratic nominee, and the two men agreed that Mr. Spitzer was beatable, according to New York Republicans told about the exchange. [...]

Mr. Weld would face several challenges, political analysts say. His liberalism helped him in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, but it could drive away conservative upstate and suburban voters who can be crucial in statewide races in New York. Just yesterday, in fact, Mr. Weld came under attack from both the right and the left for his past support of gay marriage, which he says he now opposes beyond Massachusetts.

Yet Mr. Weld's underdog victory as governor in 1990, and his landslide re-election in 1994, matter more than specific policy issues right now to New York's Republican leaders. Mr. Pataki has talked with Mr. Weld once and plans to meet with him soon, a Pataki spokesman said, and the state party chairman, Stephen J. Minarik, will meet with Mr. Weld today.

To party officials, Mr. Weld is seen as a possible blend of their biggest success stories of late: Mr. Pataki, Mr. Giuliani and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (who grew up in Massachusetts).

Like those three men, Mr. Weld supports abortion rights and equal rights for gay people, and he also shares Mr. Pataki's fervor for environmental protection and lower taxes. He is also a former federal prosecutor and is seen by Republicans as strong on criminal justice and counterterrorism, two issues that Mr. Spitzer is likely to run on next year.

Like Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Weld also has a distaste for ideological warfare, and his friendly style is gilded with the playful wit of a 60-year-old bon vivant who loves to quote the Grateful Dead. He got along well with the Democratic-controlled Legislature in Massachusetts, and he held a series of civilized, widely praised debates in 1996 in his race against Senator John Kerry, who defeated Mr. Weld. [...]

Yet people close to Mr. Weld acknowledge that he is also a largely unknown figure locally who, while wealthy, also does not have Mr. Bloomberg's personal fortune to use on television advertisements. And as a former Brahmin-like Bostonian, Mr. Weld does not have a natural ethnic or geographic base of support in New York, which has tended to favor Roman Catholic and Jewish candidates in statewide races.

Perhaps Mr. Weld's most remarkabl;e legacy is that he's been succeeded by Republican governors in MA. Now he could help Mr. Pataki duplicate the feat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2005 12:00 AM

Mr. Weld came under attack from both the right and the left for his past support of gay marriage, which he says he now opposes beyond Massachusetts.

Of course, of course. Very convenient.
Why doesn't the rest of America deserve the same superior marital laws that Massachusetts enjoys ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 19, 2005 12:21 AM

He appointed a member of a mob family as president of the University of Massachusetts.

Posted by: GER at August 19, 2005 1:20 AM


Heck, Democrats made one head of the Legislature.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2005 8:23 AM

Personally, I'm eagerly awaiting the day when Democrats and the New York Times throw out the carpetbagger charge against Weld, and the paper cluelessly sticks the story right next to one about the 2006 race for Senate in New York.

Posted by: John at August 19, 2005 9:24 AM

One good thing about Weld is he's auto-term limited. He'll get tired of the job in 4 to 6 years and bail. It's what he's done in his previous jobs.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at August 19, 2005 7:54 PM