Saint Teresa's Trials

HEIRESS TO A $700 MILLION KETCHUP fortune, Teresa Heinz has been called "Saint Teresa" for contributing to various causes, particularly the environment. Not surprisingly, she is also used to getting her way. She wanted the offices of her foundation in Pittsburgh to be environmentally correct. So all the wood in the building was "sustainably harvested" in places like Papua New Guinea "to support local tribes where forests are preserved with full biodiversity." The paint was custom-mixed "to eliminate fungicides and biocides." No expense was spared, and "nothing was final until she was happy," said her architect, William McDonough.

Mrs. Heinz's latest cause--the re-election of her new husband, Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts--is proving more difficult. The campaign between Kerry, a former PT-boat captain who likes to be compared to JFK, and Bill Weld, the state's GOP governor, is the year's hottest Senate contest. Kerry should be ahead; he's an incumbent with unlimited resources (his wife's). But the race is even, and, as Mrs. Heinz told NEWSWEEK, politics in Massachusetts is a "blood sport." So far, she's been easy prey.

When Heinz, 57, wed Kerry in 1995, some suspected a marriage of convenience. The heiress, whose first husband, the GOP senator John Heinz, died in a plane crash in '91, met Kerry at the Earth Summit in Rio in '92. Divorced, the 52-year-old Ker-ry is not rich. The Weld camp quickly claimed that Mrs. Heinz would try to buy the election. And she will not say how much she intends to spend.

Mrs. Heinz, who has kept her first husband's last name, did not help herself by referring in a newspaper interview to the late senator Heinz as "my husband" and to her new husband as "John Kerry." When she bought a house on Boston's tony Louisburg Square, the gossip columns gleefully report-ed Mrs. Heinz's request that neighbors paint their trellis a color that matched hers--and her offer to pay for the neighbors' renovation. The Boston Globe photographed Mrs. Heinz's Jeep Cherokee--its plates read "HZ 57"--parked in front of a fire hydrant. Saint Teresa had become Marie Antoinette, so Mrs. Heinz decided to mock her regal image at the annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast hosted by Billy Bulger, a legendary pol. On the dais, Kerry archly asked, "How do you like Massachusetts?" Teresa replied, "I love Massachusetts. How much is it?" The hacks roared over their corned beef.

Mrs. Heinz campaigns dutifully, referring frequently to Kerry's heroic Vietnam War record. It's a good issue for them: Weld, a squash-playing Brahmin, avoided the draft with a bum knee. But Mrs. Heinz may soon move from the gossip columns to the political pages. Last week Kerry released his income taxes ($34,891 on an income of $126,179); Teresa, filing separately, refused to release hers.