Voters Headed to Polls for Numerous Primaries on Tuesday

UPDATED: September 9, 2014, at 12:25 a.m.

Voters head to the polls on Tuesday for a long slate of primaries in Massachusetts.

At the top of the ballot are the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries. Two state political veterans, Republican Charles D. Baker ’79 and Democrat Martha M. Coakley, have separated themselves from their respective competition. Incumbent Democrat Deval L. Patrick ’78 is not seeking a third term.

Baker, who has distanced himself from his years at Harvard College and said he attended “because of the brand,” is back for another run after losing to Patrick in 2010 by a 6.4 percent margin. In the private sector, Baker spent ten years as the CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, which began as a Harvard-sponsored health plan and still provides some coverage to University employees. Baker served in cabinet posts under two Republican governors in the 1990s, William F. Weld ’66 and Paul Cellucci.

Baker has staked out stances on a number of hot social issues that are atypical of the national Republican platform, voicing support for abortion rights as well as same-sex marriage. He has been the consensus nominee since he entered the race.


Coakley, the state’s attorney general and Baker’s likely opponent in November, is best known for a difficult loss to moderate Republican Scott Brown in a heated U.S. Senate race in 2010. While Brown became the flag bearer of the Republican takeover of the Senate that year, many state Democrats expressed disappointment in the way Coakley ran her campaign.

Coakley has faced vocal challenges from Steven Grossman and Donald M. Berwick ’68, but polls show her well ahead. Brown, her opponent from 2010, has moved to New Hampshire and will likely challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the general election. Polls show Shaheen with a narrow lead in a race that, as is typical with Brown, has generated significant national interest.

Harvard voters who live on campus will be able to approve of or reject numerous members of their legislative delegations at the federal and state levels. Sen. Edward J. Markey is running unopposed, but U.S. Rep. Katherine M. Clark of the Fifth Congressional District has a challenger, as does State Rep. Marjorie C. Decker of the Twenty-Fifth Middlesex District.

Voters will also choose from a slate of candidates vying for lieutenant governor. Leland Cheung may be familiar to Harvard voters: he is a longtime Cambridge city councillor who has brought his campaign to Harvard Yard in support of the Divest Harvard movement. A Democrat, Cheung faces Stephen Kerrigan, a former staffer for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56, and Michael Lake, who works in economic development.

One of Tuesday’s closest primaries is the Democratic race for attorney general nominee, the office which Coakley is relinquishing after serving in since 2007. Maura T. Healey ’92, a lawyer who played basketball at Harvard and is considered a political newcomer, has closed the gap between herself and former State Senator Warren E. Tolman. A recent Boston Globe poll showed Healey with a healthy lead. According to The Advocate, Healey, who is a lesbian, would be the first openly gay attorney general in the country.

Secretary of State William F. Galvin has predicted a low turnout of between 15 and 20 percent of eligible voters, according to the Boston Globe.

—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MattClarida.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: September 9, 2014

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the political party of incumbent New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, as well as when she is expected to face off against Republican Scott Brown. In fact, Shaheen is a Democrat and is expected to run against Brown in Novemeber's general election.


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