EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

January 6, 2014

In 2014, Mass. voters to decide slew of contests

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts voters who trekked to the voting booth in 2013 won’t get much of a respite in 2014, with a slew of contested races on the ballot.

One of the most anticipated, and crowded, races is the open contest for governor.

Already five Democrats, two Republicans, and two independent candidates are vying for the seat held by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who isn’t seeking re-election.

On the GOP side, the top candidate is former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Charlie Baker, a veteran of the administrations of former Republican governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci.

Baker, who failed to unseat Patrick four years ago, has promised to run a more upbeat campaign, highlighting what he’s called the “sunny” side of his personality. Shrewsbury business owner Mark Fisher is also seeking the Republican nomination.

On the Democratic side, two candidates — Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Treasurer Steve Grossman — are considered among the top tier.

Coakley has a strong political organization, having run a series of successful campaigns, including twice for attorney general and twice for Middlesex district attorney.

But she has to convince the state’s Democratic faithful that she’s shaken off her loss to Republican former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in a special 2010 election to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Although he’s in his first term in elected office, Grossman has deep ties to Democratic activists after having served as the head of both the state and national parties. He’s also already amassed a hefty campaign bank account.

Like Coakley, Grossman hasn’t won every race, including an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2002.

Three other Democratic challengers are hoping to break out of the pack: Newton pediatrician Don Berwick; former federal Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem; and former Wellesley Selectman Joseph Avellone.

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