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Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift Faces Possible Opposition From Within Own Party

Aired March 5, 2002 - 12:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: As a lot of folks know, Governor Jane Swift has the dual challenge of leading Massachusetts and raising young twins. If that were not enough though, Swift faces election this fall with possible opposition from within her own party.

As CNN's Bill Delaney reports, her potential opponent has Olympian stature.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Somewhere down around the grassroots of Massachusetts, always-thin Republican soil, Ian Bayne's tiny office of his Massachusetts Republican Society, where a Web site got thrown together last week, calling for billionaire businessman Mitt Romney, chairman, and some say savior, of the Salt Lake Olympics, to run for governor in Massachusetts.

IAN BAYNE, REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST: It was the first day that we really had a full day. We had 500 inquiries,

DELANEY: And counting. With, says Bayne, who has no formal connection to the Republican Party, more than 50 local GOP chairpersons now telling him, they're for Romney. Amid dangerous disgruntlement over present Republican Governor Jane Swift's chances this November, recent polls show she'd lose to every prospective Democratic candidate, the same polls that showed Romney defeating the same field.

(on camera): Among those adding up the numbers, a local Republican activist here by the name of Neal Chayet. He wouldn't confirm or deny it, but last week he reportedly contacted both the president's chief political adviser Karl Rove and White House chief of staff Andrew Card about finding a job for Governor Swift, to move her aside for a Romney candidacy.

Trouble is, Swift's not moving. She's running.

GOV. JANE SWIFT, MASSACHUSETTS: In Massachusetts, politics are lively. I'm used to people telling me that I'm never going to win, and four times out of five, they've been wrong.

DELANEY: Republican sources say, in any event, Romney's unlikely to make his mind up until mid-March, when the Salt Lake Paralympics conclude.

MITT ROMNEY, SALT LAKE CITY OLYMPICS: I'm pretty careful not to absolutely rule out anything.

DELANEY: Not ruling out a Republican primary fight: Massachusetts Republican state chairwoman Kerry Murphy Healey. Romney's told her he is seriously considering going for it.

KERRY MURPHY HEALEY, REPUBLICAN STATE CHAIRWOMAN: it's about the possibility of having two good choices. I don't think we have bad options here. Our governor has stepped up to the plate, and said she's not afraid, bring it on.

DELANEY: Should the run-up to the September primary get bloody, though, Massachusetts Republicans could end up wishing either Swift or Romney had moved on.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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