BOSTON -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says she’s focused on her job as the state’s top law enforcement officer, yet declined to rule out a future run for governor or U.S. Senate.
Coakley told reporters Thurs day she feels very lucky to be attorney general even as speculation swirls about other political contests, including the 2014 governor’s race or a another special Senate election if Sen. John Kerry is appointed to an Obama Cabinet post.
Coakley, a Democrat, said right now she’s thinking about her next two years in office and potentially running for attorney general again.
But Coakley, who lost a 2010 special election to Republican Sen. Scott Brown, also said every race is different and if Kerry’s seat opens up she’ll decide whether to rule out a campaign then.
"Races are expensive. They’re tough. They’re hard. If I do get in a race, I’m going to do so with a 150 percent, but that’s a personal decision that I will make," Coakley said.
Pressed later by reporters about her loss to Brown in 2010 and whether that might play into a future decision to enter another Senate special election, Coakley said every political race is different.
"The dynamic is different, the time is different and if that time comes and there is a seat, I’ll rule it out or not," Coakley said. "But right now I’m not really focused on that at all.
If there is another special Senate election, Coakley could again be facing off against Brown.
That could be a daunting challenge. Despite his loss to Democratic Sen.-elect Eliza beth Warren in November, Brown remains popular in Massachusetts. He also ran a strong campaign, still has a political organization, and showed an ability to raise tens of millions in campaign donations.
And despite her loss in 2010, Coakley is also seen by many Democrats as one of their stronger political candidates.
She’s won several statewide races, also has a political organization, and won credit for her ability to put the high profile 2010 loss behind her and launch a successful re-election campaign the same year.
"We lost. We admitted we made mistakes during it, but I got right back to work, because that’s what I do," she said.
Coakley isn’t the only Massachusetts Democrat who may be eyeing a run for higher office. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray has said he would like to be governor. Treasurer Steven Grossman is also considered a likely candidate for the corner office.
Coakley made her comments at a meeting of the Massa chusetts Newspaper Publishers Association on Thursday.
Although she downplayed interest in either office, Coakley spent part of her address to the group lamenting political paralysis in Washington and calling on elected officials from both parties to set aside their feuding until the next election cycle.
"We have a dysfunctional political system that is an obstacle to good governance," Coakley said. "Unless we are willing -- elected leaders and others -- to come together and change that system, to fix that system, we’re never going to solve the huge problems."
Coakley also touted her ability to work across the political divide, saying she routinely collaborates with officials "regardless of whether they have a "D" or "R" after their name."
Coakley also used the address to push back against critics who have suggested she’s been overzealous in some recent public corruption cases, including the decision to charge former state Treasure Timothy Cahill, whose trial is ongoing.
Although she didn’t mention Cahill by name, Coakley defended her decision to bring such cases, saying otherwise there would be no accountability among public officials.
"For a long time we’ve heard ... that this state has a culture of corruption," she said. "It’s ironic to me that when we started investigating and bringing some cases, I also heard from people who said well, what’s wrong with that, everybody’s doing it. It certainly doesn’t make it OK."