State Treasurer Steve Grossman -- as expected -- won the Democratic Party’s endorsement for governor Saturday at the party’s convention in Worcester, besting four rivals. Grossman scored a commanding victory, garnering the support of 35.2 percent of the delegates.
Attorney General Martha Coakley placed second with 23.3 percent of the vote. Again, there was no surprise in that. Polls of potential Democratic primary voters, however, consistently show Coakley to be the strong favorite to win the Democratic nomination in September’s run off.
A Boston Globe poll published on the eve of the convention showed that rank-and-file Democrats favored Coakley over Grossman by 35 points. Paradoxically, that’s the same margin by which activists and insiders preferred Grossman.
Campaigns, of course, are about reordering public perceptions. Neither Grossman nor Coakley have – as of yet -- manifested the suave retail presence on the campaign trail that became the hallmark of outgoing, two-term Democratic Governor Deval Patrick.
Grossman and Coakley evince different virtues, project different styles: Grossman is dogged, focused on the moment, and detail oriented; Coakley is sympathetic and projects an air of understanding while seeking to connect the dots within a range of issues.
The convention, nevertheless, failed to narrow the race to a contest between two political veterans.
Claiming third-place on the September ballot was former Medicaid and Medicare administrator Don Berwick, who placed just 1.2 percent behind Coakley. Berwick’s performance was not a surprise, but it was an eyebrow raiser.
Many of Grossman’s delegates were seasoned political veterans often in sync with industrial-strength vibes that shape Beacon Hill’s climate of opinion. Berwick’s supporters, on the other hand, appear to be more grass-roots oriented, attuned to the fiscally challenged realities of local government.
Failing to achieve the 15 percent threshold of votes required to place on the primary ballot were former Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem (12.1 percent) and former health care executive Joe Avellone (7.0).
If the race for Governor is shaping up to be diffuse, with two political veterans looking over their shoulders at a maverick who will undoubtedly present himself as a no-strings attached progressive, then the contest for Attorney General appears to be heading for more classic territory – a head-to-head contest between two decidedly liberal candidates. A recent Boston-Herald/Suffolk University poll suggests the race is wide open with 58 percent of likely voters undecided.
Former state legislator Warren Tolman won the Democratic endorsement, beating a former member of Coakley’s Attorney General team Maura Healey. The vote was 2,254 to 2,094, pushing Tollman over the top with a margin of 160 votes.
Deb Goldberg received the nomination for Treasurer with 38.9 percent of the votes cast, and Ton Conroy and Barry Finegold won places on the ballot with 33.9 percent and 27.1 percent respectively.
For Lieutenant Governor, Steve Kerrigan topped his field with 37.6 percent, followed by Mike Lake with 35.4 percent, and Leland Chuend with 16.2 percent.