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A Weld-Kerry Contest

MASSACHUSETTS Republican Gov. William Weld's announcement that he will challenge Democratic Sen. John Kerry in 1996 sets up a classic contest that will surely garner national attention.

Raising money may not be an issue in this race - spending it will. Governor Weld, from an old Boston Brahmin family, is independently wealthy. Senator Kerry has Brahmin roots as well, but his far-greater wealth comes from his new wife, Teresa Heinz, widow of the late GOP Sen. John Heinz, the ketchup-company heir. Weld has proposed a $5 million spending cap; Kerry has not yet agreed.

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Weld will run on his record as fiscally conservative, tough on crime, and socially liberal: He is pro-choice on abortion and has supported gay-rights causes. He says he wants to continue his reform efforts in Washington and give the Bay State a voice in the GOP majority. Kerry will try to paste Weld to Speaker Gingrich, who is very unpopular in Massachusetts, and to portray himself as defender of the poor and middle classes who would be hurt by GOP budget cuts.

Both men are popular. Look for a tough, informative, and exciting race.

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