An interesting aspect of Saturday’s state Democratic convention to emerge is the apparent disconnect between party insiders and the voters when it comes to the governor’s race. Attorney General Martha Coakley leads in the polls while Treasurer Steve Grossman won the party’s endorsement, which suggests that the Democrats who do the heavy lifting in campaigns fear being burned again by Ms. Coakley.
Ms. Coakley addressed her loss in the 2010 special U.S. Senate election to fill the seat vacated by the death of Democratic icon Edward Kennedy in a bid to get the issue out of the way. Republican Scott Brown, who defeated Ms. Coakley, was run out of the state to New Hampshire by Elizabeth Warren in 2012, but Ms. Coakley still has an open wound to heal.
Mr. Grossman, the choice of party insiders, must make up ground with voters before the September primary. Locally, state Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield told The Eagle’s Jim Therrien she backs him because of his efforts to push forward the Taconic High School reconstruction project, which comes under his purview as treasurer. That should give him a boost in the city to balance the votes Ms. Coakley will get in North Berkshire, where the Williams graduate has roots.
Donald Berwick was the third gubernatorial candidate to make the ballot and his support of single-payer health care, opposition to casinos and emphasis on poverty programs appeals to progressives. It’s unfortunate that a candidate with considerable potential, Juliette Kayyem, failed to make the party’s 15 percent vote threshold, depriving voters of a chance to learn more about her over the summer.
State Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield, who is co-chairman of the Democrats’ coordinated campaign efforts, told The Eagle he isn’t worried about the primary fracturing the party, nor should he be. State Republicans didn’t want a gubernatorial primary but with Mark Fisher having pushed his way onto the ballot, Charles Baker, the GOP’s preferred choice, may emerge looking positively Churchillian after a campaign with the tea partier. Similarly, an energetic primary campaign will help the Democrats’ gubernatorial candidates as they prepare to enter the post-Deval Patrick era.