Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Democratic candidate Martha Coakley seeking Massachusetts’ governor’s seat

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(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

Coming into the 2014 Massachusetts gubernatorial election, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley is on a bit of a slide.

After defeating Steve Grossman and Don Berwick in the Democratic primary in September – a surprise since Grossman had won the state Democratic convention in June – Coakley and Charlie Baker, the Republican candidate for governor, flip-flopped positions in various polls throughout September.

In the last three polls, however, Coakley was second to Baker. Especially concerning for her campaign was the nine percentage-point differential between her and Baker in the Oct. 19 to 21 poll conducted by the Boston Globe. Shortly following that poll, the Globe officially announced its endorsement of Baker, the first time that Massachusetts’ largest newspaper has supported a Republican candidate in 20 years.

For Coakley and Massachusetts Democrats as a whole, these recent developments show similarities to that of the special election campaign for Senate in 2010. In that election, Coakley’s early momentum rapidly faded away as Election Day drew closer and she suffered a shocking loss to Republican candidate Scott Brown.

The Coakley campaign, which is seeking to put the first woman in the Massachusetts governor’s seat, would rather not focus on these similarities in the lead up to the election. It would rather focus on her platform, especially in the arena of education.

In an open letter to students of the University of Massachusetts, Coakley announced if she wins the Nov. 4 election, she will “institute a full-need financial aid policy at Massachusetts community colleges.” The letter makes no mention of plans for financial aid at four-year institutions.

Coakley also made a point of mentioning her intentions to improve the economy by supporting Massachusetts’ students. If Coakley is elected governor, she plans to “double the number of paid internships in the life sciences, clean tech and technology sectors.”

As the first female Massachusetts Attorney General, a post she has held since 2007, Coakley also hopes to bring her strong record of advocating for individual freedom and security to Beacon Hill. Over the last seven years, she has worked to strengthen cyber-security, increase penalties for child predators and recover money for Massachusetts taxpayers. Coakley’s office also filed a first-in-the-nation lawsuit that resulted in a federal judge striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Coakley is a Western Massachusetts local. She grew up in North Adams and graduated from Williams College in 1975 before receiving her Juris Doctorate degree from Boston University in 1979. She has also spent the brunt of her professional career in the state, working for a couple of private law firms in Boston before serving as the district attorney of Middlesex County from 1999 to 2007.

Joining Coakley on the Democratic ticket is lieutenant governor hopeful and Lancaster native Steve Kerrigan. Kerrigan has served as the co-chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the CEO for the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee, and has worked for Sen. Edward Kennedy and former Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston. If elected, Kerrigan hopes to use the office as a forum for improving local business and reexamining the state’s educational practices.

Although Coakley lost out on the Globe endorsement, she has received a number of endorsements from “organizations that fight every day for fairness and opportunity and represent thousands of working men, women and families across the Commonwealth,” according to Audrey Coulter, a press assistant for Coakley’s campaign. These groups include Planned Parenthood, MassEquality, a pro-LGBT group and EMILY’s List, a high-powered political action committee supporting pro-choice Democratic women.

Coakley has also received endorsements from environmental agencies, such as the Sierra Club, Massachusetts Clean Water Action and Environmental League of Massachusetts.

The other major governor-lieutenant governor candidates are Evan Falchuk-Angus Jennings (United Independent), Scott Lively-Shelly Saunders (Independent) and Jeff McCormick-Tracy Post (Independent).

Anthony Rentsch can be reached at [email protected]

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