BOSTON -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Royall H. Switzler Tuesday admitted embellishing his military record in previous campaign literature, but said he would remain a candidate in the September primary.
Switzler, a veteran state representative from the wealthy Boston suburb of Wellesley, told a news conference that materials prepared six years ago incorrectly listed his Army rank as captain. The literature also implied he was a member of the Special Forces and that he had served in Vietnam.
In fact, Switzler said he served as an infantry sergeant in Korea, received special training but never joined the Green Berets, and only visited Vietnam while on leave.
The situation drew immediate parallels to the case of 1982 GOP gubernatorial candidate John Lakian, whose campaign was derailed after admitting he also embellished his war and education background in campaign literature. Lakian later sued the Boston Globe for disclosing the discrepancies, but lost.
Switzler said he discovered the error five or six years ago and has not used the inaccurate information since then.
He attributed the embellishments to 'overanxious campaign people,' adding, 'I feel I have to bring it out because it is a weight on my own conscience.
'I'm sorry. I apologize for having done this and take full responsibility,' he told an audience that included a majority of the Republican legislators who helped spearhead his draft at the April party convention.
Switzler admitted he had considered dropping out of the Sept. 16 primary against North Andover attorney Gregory S. Hyatt, but eventually ruled out that option.
'If party leaders think they have a better candidate, there's another candidate who has filed papers,' he said.
Switzler conceded the discrepancies played a major role in the slow start to his campaign following the surprise draft at the convention.
'The biggest enemy was myself,' he said. 'It's not easy to admit you made a mistake. I guess some people like to be more than they are.'
Hyatt refused to discuss the specifics of Switzler's admission, suggesting, 'It's up to the people of Massachusetts to make up their minds if it's an issue or not.'
Aides to Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination, declined comment.