Michael Dukakis

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Michael Dukakis
Governor Michael Dukakis.jpg
Governor of Massachusetts
From: January 6, 1983 – January 3, 1991
Predecessor Edward J. King
Successor Bill Weld
Governor of Massachusetts
From: January 2, 1975 – January 4, 1979
Predecessor Francis W. Sargent
Successor Edward J. King
Massachusetts House of Representatives
From: January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1971
Predecessor Sumner Z. Kaplan
Successor Jon Rotenberg
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Kitty Dickson
Military Service
Service/branch United States Army
Service Years 1955 - 1957
Rank Specialist

Michael S. Dukakis (born 1933) is a former three-term liberal Massachusetts governor, who ran for President of the United States in 1988 as a Democrat. After obtaining the party's nomination, he lost to President George H.W. Bush mostly due to his soft on crime policies. His running mate was Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.

Dukakis is a US Army veteran, serving in South Korea from 1955 to 1957.

Gubernatorial career

Dukakis was first elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1974. He was defeated in the 1978 Democratic primary by Edward J. King, but would return to defeat king in 1982 and be reelected Governor in 1986. He was Massachusetts' longest serving Governor.

1988 Presidential campaign


Dukakis finished third in the Iowa caucuses, but went on to win the New Hampshire primary by a considerable margin. From this point forward he led the field in the all-important accrual of delegates and managed to outlast the other Democratic hopefuls.


Dukakis and Bentsen faced the GOP ticket of Vice President Bush and Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana. Dukakis' image and campaign were mortally wounded by his soft approach to crime as evidenced by the Willie Horton debacle. Horton, a convicted murderer, committed a violent rape and assault after being released from prison as part of a Dukakis-approved furlough program. Fueled by Bush strategist Lee Atwater, the issue became a hot-button topic during the election.

Dukakis lost the election to Bush by a wide margin, winning only ten states.

See also