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Inside Report (6)

Increasingly desperate Republicans, in search of a viable challenger for Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, are quickening their pursuit of Margaret Heckler.

The eight-term GOP congresswoman is being wooed quietly with the assurance that if she is unsuccessful in toppling Kennedy, an attractive place will be provided for her in the GOP-controlled federal bureaucracy.

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Some Republican brain trusters are convinced that Mrs. Heckler, a moderate, can hold onto conservatives, pick up independents, and be especially effective at cutting into the senator's usually strong backing among women.m