WORCESTER – It is not often the Commonwealth sees thousands of Democrats gathering together in one arena with such shared passion and pride for the betterment of their state. The DCU Center in Worcester, home of this year’s Democratic State Convention, filled up quickly this morning as the opposed candidates for state office greeted convention attendees outside the hall.
Uncontested candidates were nominated last night, shortly after the start of the convention. State Auditor Suzanne Bump, Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin and U.S. Senator Ed Markey addressed the convention body Friday night before accepting the party’s nominations.
Today, candidates for Treasurer, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Governor will be speaking to the convention body and vying for the delegates’ votes. Candidates must receive at least 15 percent of the vote to be placed on the primary ballot.
Five candidates at today’s convention are campaigning to be the Commonwealth’s next governor: Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman and Juliette Kayyem.
Coakley, current Mass. Attorney General, stood outside the meeting rooms greeting constituents prior to entering the convention hall. Although the polls have shown a tight race in recent weeks, Coakley said she is more excited than nervous about today’s vote.
“I’m very excited about the energy out here and around the hall,” she said. “The Democrats have a great decision to make today. There are a lot of great candidates, and I’m just hoping to get my 15 percent and keep on moving ahead.”
All candidate presentations have been completed, and the districts are almost done tallying their votes to determine which candidates received the needed 15 percent to move on to the primary and choose an endorsed candidate for each office.
The convention’s contested candidate presentations began with those running for Treasurer: Tom Conroy, Barry Finegold and Deb Goldberg. Though their platforms focused on a variety of issues, one word strung them all together: equality.
Mass. Rep. Conroy, who brought three of his four daughters on stage with him at the conclusion of his speech, said as treasurer, he will restore hope for Massachusetts families by creating an economy where every family has an equal chance.
“As Democrats, we don’t want an economy that says greed is good,” he said. “We want an economy that works for the greater good.”
Goldberg described herself as a “proud democratic activist,” promising to combat income inequality, bringing economic empowerment, security and equality to Massachusetts.
All three candidates for treasurer prioritized the need for social equality, promising to expand opportunities and close the income gap for women, colored people, immigrants and veterans.
Following the presentations for treasurer, Maura Healey and Warren Tolman, the two Democratic candidates for Attorney General, took the stage, both promising to get illegal guns off the streets and fight for equality. In the campaign videos shown to the convention body prior to the candidates’ presentations, both Healey and Tolman brought a comic relief to the afternoon, cracking jokes while simultaneously focusing on their platforms.
Healey promised to fight for the repeal of Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick’s 2011 Expanded Gaming Act, which allows for three destination resort casinos throughout the state and one single slots facility. With a lens on the economy, Healey said gambling is not the solution to income equality, and the gaming industry must be held accountable.
Tolman instead focused on the fight against the National Rifle Association, ensuring delegates he will use the power of the Attorney General office to fight this battle for the sake of Masssachusetts’ children.
“When I’m Attorney General, life for the NRA just got a lot tougher,” he said. “I’ve shown I can win the tough battles, and I’m ready to do it again.”
The third set of presentations were those for Lieutenant Governor. Four Democratic candidates are running for the currently-vacant office: James Arena-DeRosa, Leland Cheung, Steve Kerrigan and Mike Lake.
Throughout their speeches, all four men spoke about the need for a strong Lieutenant Governor, one who will stand strong as the governor’s partner and as a leader for the Commonwealth. Cheung, whose parents were immigrants, said he is inspired to make a difference in the state government because of his daughter.
“We want our children to have even more opportunities to succeed than we did,” he said.
Lake made a commitment to education, telling the convention body that we need to stop blaming teachers for the faults of our education system. Teachers, he said, are not the problems, but they are instead the answers.
“We can not wait until tomorrow to deliver on the Massachusetts promise,” he said. “The time to deliver is now.”
The last set of presentations were those for governor. All five candidates spoke to the convention body, each bringing their army of supporters to the front of room as they spoke. Kayyem, a former homeland security expert, said Massachusetts must take the success Patrick brought to the state and start challenging the status quo.
“We can’t simply dream of a Commonwealth that might be. We must plan for the Massachusetts that should be,” she said.
Coakley also referenced Patrick, complimenting his hard work and bold success but emphasizing the need to keep Massachusetts at the forefront.
“We have big shoes to fill,” she said. “Maybe it’s time to fill those shoes with high heels.”
Berwick began his presentation on a mellow note, sharing a story about a boy he had known named Isaiah who survived his battle against cancer but lost his life “to a different disease: injustice.” According to Berwick, his experiences with Isaiah and the healthcare industry have inspired him to fight for justice for all.
“We have a pledge to keep, a pledge we made just this morning,” he said. “We said ‘with liberty and justice to all.’ All means all.”
Avellone focused greatly on substance abuse, promising to do anything he can to bring an end to the problem and urging the body to give him the opportunity to create a stronger Massachusetts.
Grossman, current State Treasurer, focused on the creation of a Commonwealth that is a level playing field and leaves no one behind.
“Our work is just beginning,” he said. “There is not time for part time progressives. Together, let’s create one Commonwealth with justice.”
Although the official count has not been released, Kayyem’s campaign sent out an email that she did not receive the 15 percent needed to place her on the primary ballot. Kayyem will “keep fighting to level the playing field so that every person has a fair chance,” the email stated.
All districts have submitted their tallies, and the final votes are being counted.
Avellone’s campaign released a statement via email stating he came up short of the 15 percent. He thanked everyone who has helped him in his campaign and said he is “grateful for the opportunity to have made it this far.”
Berwick announced during a meeting with the press he has made it to the primary ballot.
The results of the votes have officially been announced to the convention body. Candidates needed 15 percent to be placed on the primary ballot, and they needed over 50 percent to be the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party.
In the office of Treasurer, Goldberg received 38.9 percent of the vote, Conroy received 33.9 percent and Finegold received 27.1 percent. No candidate received enough of the vote to be endorsed, but all three will be advancing to the primary ballot.
In the office of Attorney General, Tolman received 51 percent of the vote, making him the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party. Healey received 48.1 percent of the vote. Both candidates will advance to the primary ballot.
In the office of Lieutenant Governor, Kerrigan received 37.6 percent of the vote, Lake received 35.4 percent, Cheung received 16.2 percent and Arena-DeRosa received 10.6 percent. No candidate received enough of the vote to be endorsed. Kerrigan, Lake and Cheung will be advancing to the primary ballot.
In the office of Governor, Grossman received 35.2 percent of the vote, Coakley received 23.3 percent, Berwick received 22.1 percent, Kayyem received 12.1 percent and Avellone received 7 percent. No candidate received enough of the vote to be endorsed. Grossman, Coakley and Berwick will advance to the primary ballot.
For the election for Treasurer, Goldberg and Conroy decided together to withdraw their names from the second ballot. There will be no endorsed Democratic candidate for Treasurer.
For the election of Lieutenant Governor, Kerrigan and Lake decided together to withdraw their names from the second ballot. There will be no endorsed candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
For the election of Governor, Coakley decided to withdraw her name from the second ballot. Steve Grossman was announced as the endorsed candidate for governor of the Democratic Party.
All campaigns will have five minutes to determine whether or not they want to go forth with a second ballot.
Convention is adjourned.