Few Republican politicians in Massachusetts ever defy the cozy "escalator" system on which ambitious vote getters rise to the upper levels just by staying in line. But last week a young Harvard blueblood skipped the first steps, stormed the heights, carried if off with startling success, and thereby became the hottest Bay State political prospect in years.

He is six-foot, sandy-haired Robert Fiske Bradford, 41, ninth direct descendant of old Governor William Bradford, the Mayflower Pilgrim who governed Massachusetts for 30 one-year terms with a blunderbuss in one hand and a prayerbook in the other. Young Bradford is the kind...

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