Massachusetts, for the first time in history, could lose both its top elected officials in the middle of their terms. Gov. Michael S. Dukakis is among those those being considered by Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale as a running mate.
Lt. Gov. John F. Kerry is campaigning for the US Senate seat being vacated by fellow-Democrat Paul E. Tsongas.
While the prospects for this exodus from the Bay State's executive suite to the nation's capital are remote, it's nonetheless a distinct possibility.
Gubernational aides confirm that Governor Dukakis has been advised he's on the list of vice-presidential possibilities. Dukakis has been a staunch Mondale booster - even when the former vice-president's bandwagon was much less crowded. Despite his enthusiastic Mondale endorsement, Dukakis was unable to help Mondale pull off a victory in the state's presidential primary in March. Mondale was bested by US Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado.
As Dukakis allies see it, the selection of the Bay State chief executive for the No. 2 spot on a ticket with Mondale makes good sense. Few governors have been more outspoken in their criticisms of the administration of Republican President Ronald Reagan.
Dukakis, throughout his government career of more than two decades, has proved to be committed to environmental protection, human rights, and a broad range of social issues that are closely identified with the Mondale campaign.
Dukakis's appeal as a vice-presidential candidate is enhanced by his reputation of running a corruption-free government - during his first term (1975 -78) and since his return to office in January 1983.
Dukakis critics are skeptical about how seriously he is being considered for the Democratic national ticket. Massachusetts has fewer electoral votes than the home states of others - such as New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo - who are also being named as possible vice-presidential choices.
On several occasions, the Bay State governor has said he was elected for four years and he expected to fill out the term. At no point, however, has he stated flatly he would not be interested in higher office.