The race to replace Gov. Deval L. Patrick ’78 is set.
Though Democrat Martha M. Coakley had a closer challenge in her party’s primary than many predicted, she prevailed and will face Republican Charles D. Baker ’79 in November’s general election.
Coakley is the state’s attorney general, but she is also known for a bitter 2010 loss to former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown.
Baker served at the cabinet level under two Republican governors in the 1990s and also spent ten years as the CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Baker has defined himself as more progressive than the national Republican Party, voicing support for abortion rights as well as same-sex marriage.
Baker’s primary was over soon after the polls closed, and he defeated opponent Mark Fisher by a huge margin.
“We want to bring a new...brand of bipartisan leadership that will bring balance to state government and opportunity to all of our citizens,” Baker told supporters at a victory rally.
Speaking after 11 p.m., Coakley, who defeated her top challenger, Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman, by a margin of just six percentage points according to results at press time, did not wait long to go negative against her general election opponent.
“From our economic wellbeing to defending our personal rights, we know the Republican Charlie Baker is the wrong voice for Massachusetts,” she said during a long speech which highlighted Baker’s alleged shortcomings.
It was a good night for Harvard graduates in other races around the state. Former marine and political newcomer Seth W. Moulton ’01 upended veteran Sixth District Rep. John Tierney—a nine-term representative—in the district’s Democratic primary.
And Democrat Maura T. Healey ’92 capitalized on a late streak of momentum to run over former State Sen. Warren Tolman, who began the race as the heavy favorite, in the attorney general primary.
“As an advocate, as a prosecutor, as a civil rights attorney, you have to lead, you have to make your case, and you have to give it all your heart,” Healy, a former Crimson basketball player, told a crowd of cheering supporters. “We just made the case to the voters: but we’ve got to go back to work, because we’ve got another trial Nov. 4.”
If she wins in November against Republican John Miller, Healey will be the first openly gay attorney general in the United States.
With the stage set for November’s elections, the pace on the campaign trail is expected to pick up. Moulton will face the popular Republican, Richard Tisei, a former state lawmaker who nearly beat Tierney in the Sixth Congressional District in 2012.
Statewide, the race is also on for a less-heralded office: the lieutenant governorship. In the Democratic primary for that office, vocal Cambridge City Councillor Leland Cheung came in a distant second to Stephen Kerrigan, who will now pair with Coakley. Karyn Polito, who has already joined forces with Baker, won on the Republican side.
Elsewhere, Brown easily won the Republican senatorial primary in New Hampshire, where he moved after losing his Massachusetts senate seat to former Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Brown will now face Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in a race that is already drawing national attention.
And in Rhode Island, Gina M. Raimondo ’93, the state’s treasurer, won the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Raimondo has made waves as treasurer for taking on organized labor groups in reworking Rhode Island’s pension system.
—Staff Writers Caroline M. Hunsicker and Arjun S. Byju contributed to the reporting of this story
—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattClarida.
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