Martha Coakley revived a political career that appeared to be all but over when she was defeated by Republican Scott Brown in a shocking special election for U.S. Senate three years ago. Now she will attempt to put that loss entirely behind her in a run for governor.
The Berkshire County native and Williams College graduate announced Monday that she will join a crowded field in pursuit of the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014. She will have to win over skeptical Democrats who may still be bitter over her 2010 defeat, even though new Democratic star Elizabeth Warren took the seat back from Mr. Brown in 2012.
With the seat held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy regarded as safe, Ms. Coakley began running out the clock as soon as she won the Democratic primary, and her cautious, poll- and consultant-driven campaign created an opening for the barn coat-clad Mr. Brown, who drove through it in his pickup truck. He connected with voters, while Ms. Coakley did not, and independents went Republican in decisive numbers.
Thought to be crippled politically, Ms. Coakley simply went back to being an effective attorney general. Her statewide efforts to advance the rights of gays to marry, punish Wall Street criminals, bring corrupt politicians to trial and help the victims of human trafficking have been successful and in some instances given her national prominence. Her aggressiveness may have surprised some who thought she would retreat into the shadows after such a high-profile defeat
Ms. Coakley is reserved and soft-spoken -- unusual for a politician -- but the reputation for chilliness and arrogance she was saddled with in 2010 was undeserved, and the pounding she took from the national media and even "Saturday Night Live" after the Senate loss went well over the top. She has undoubtedly developed a thick skin, and that, along with a better ground campaign and the progressive ideas she put forth in her campaign announcement Monday, will make her a formidable candidate for the state's top office.