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Mass. 2014 gubernatorial race starting to shape up

Due to allegations against Mass. Attorney Gen. Martha Coakley and former state cabinet Secretary of Administration and Finance Charlie Baker announcing his running mate, the rest of the pool for the 2014 gubernatorial race to replace Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick is falling in the shadows of these two frontrunners with 11 months to go until the election in November.

Baker is the only declared candidate running for the Republican primary. He announced his running mate, former Mass. Rep. Karyn Polito, on Dec. 3.

“Karyn is a dynamic campaigner with a unique background as a mom, small business owner and successful public servant,” said Kirsten Hughes, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party. “She is a hard worker and brings a lot of support and enthusiasm with her.”

The Democratic candidates running include biotech executive Joseph Avellone, former administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Donald Berwick, Mass. State Treasurer Steven Grossman, former Boston Globe columnist and federal homeland security official Juliette Kayyem, Mass. Sen. Daniel Wolf and Coakley.

Hughes said Coakley should not be running for governor, despite being the front-runner for the Democratic primary.

“It is clear from Coakley’s illegal campaign cash scandal she doesn’t have a firm grasp on the law, but it is just ludicrous for the state’s top cop to give up on her job of putting criminals behind bars,” she said. “Her rambling claim that releasing lawbreakers, and giving them job training will finance her education plans, is possibly the only thing more bizarre than an Attorney General giving up on putting people in jail in the first place.”

Republicans requested an investigation against Coakley for possible campaign fraud on Nov. 14, following a spotlight series published by the Boston Globe with details showing Coakley’s gubernatorial campaign may have used money from Coakley’s federal account no more information has come out.

Travis Shofner, spokesman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said despite Hughes’s allegations against Coakley, his party is excited about the Democrats running this election.

“The Massachusetts Democratic Party is proud of the deep pool of talent that is reflected in our candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and the other statewide constitutional offices up for election in 2014,” he said in a Tuesday statement. “Each candidate brings a unique set of talents and skills and we’re excited for the opportunity to hear them make their case to the Commonwealth.”

Kayyem, one of the many Democrats who have been in Coakley’s shadow, visited Cape Cod for the first time on Monday to talk about job creation, biotechnology, clean energy and the education sectors as worthy of investment.

When asked if another woman in the race would hurt her chances, she said, “It’s about the candidate, not the chromosome,” according to a Monday release.

Avellone, another Democratic candidate, who has not received much attention so far in the election, said for the past 11 months, he has been focusing on meeting voters throughout the Commonwealth.

“I’ve been to 125 cities and towns and taken part in over 400 events, and what I’ve heard repeatedly is that people are tired of the status quo on Beacon Hill … it is clear that people are looking for something new and we’ve been getting great support with my experience of creating jobs in the 21st century economy,” he said in a Monday statement. “I’m the only candidate that can develop the workforce skills necessary for these jobs.”

Steve Grossman’s campaign manager Josh Wolf said Grossman is not concerned with being out of the spotlight because there is still much time until the primary.

“Steve is organizing this campaign the same way he will govern: building relationships with community leaders, activists and citizens in every corner of this state for a discussion about his progressive values and accomplishments as Treasurer of the Commonwealth,” he said in a Monday statement.

But MassGOP believes Massachusetts is in dire need of new, Republican leadership, Hughes said.

“Charlie’s hands on leadership tackling big problems and creating success in the private sector combined with his time serving [former] Governor [William] Weld when they added jobs, cut taxes and reformed education will be huge assets to him in his race,” she said.

Shofner said Baker has proven himself to be the same candidate who ran an angry campaign in 2010.

“He’s attempting to reshape his image while continuing to run from his involvement in the Big Dig financing scheme, and he has picked a running mate who has aligned herself with the Tea Party and who opposed voter’s views on fundamental issues like marriage equality,” he said. “We believe 2014 will show once again that voters know we are the party with the better ideas for improving education, strengthening the economy and best representing the values and priorities of middle class families.”

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