Attorney General Martha Coakley brought her barnstorming campaign kickoff for governor to western Massachusetts today.
Coakley shook hands and engaged in small-talk with the lunch-time crowd at the Red Rose Pizzeria in downtown Springfield. The launch of Coakley’s gubernatorial campaign, which began Monday, has her making 18 similar stops over three days from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. There are no stump speeches in front of invited audiences, just random encounters with people in casual dining spots, as Coakley seeks further distance from her bitter defeat in the 2010 U.S. Senate election.
In addition to making people forget about her loss to Republican Scott Brown in the special senate race, Coakley also has to convince voters that her resume in law enforcement qualifies her to deal with the broader issues facing a governor. Coakley’s three predecessors in the Attorney General’s office all ran unsuccessfully for governor.
Coakley says her priorities as governor will be job creation and education.
Coakley is entering an already crowded field of five Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls.
The other Democratic candidates for governor have had low campaign profiles. State Treasurer Steve Grossman, for example, announced his candidacy with a single speech at the party convention in Lowell in June. He has spent the summer at cookouts and other such small gatherings soliciting support from party activists.
Charles Baker, the only announced Republican candidate for governor, released a campaign video followed by a press conference the next day. He’s had no scheduled public campaign events since his announcement two weeks ago.
In Springfield, Coakley received an endorsement from the City Council President James Ferrera.
Coakley is scheduled to wrap up her campaign swing through western Massachusetts with stops in Pittsfield and North Adams, where she was born.