State Capitol Briefs — Thursday, August 28, 2014

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(State House News Service)

Organizers behind the ballot question to repeal gas tax inflation indexing pushed back against Martha Coakley on Thursday, arguing that her campaign manager “diminished” the grassroots support behind the effort when he criticized a well-funded super PAC behind a new attack ad on Coakley. “We have wide support. Unlike other campaigns, we did not pay for signatures. Over 146,000 people signed. Even today we are still getting requests from people wanting to sign in protest. It is offensive that the Coakley campaign is belittling taxpayers,” said organizer Steve Aylward. The Commonwealth Future PAC, funded largely by the Republican Governor’s Association, began airing a television ad Thursday criticizing Coakley’s support for indexing future gas tax increases to inflation and mocking the Democrat for a May TV appearance where she guessed that the state’s 24-cent gas tax was 10 cents. Tim Foley, campaign manager for Coakley’s gubernatorial run, knocked what he called the “special interest funded super PAC” for failing to tell voters that the gas tax plan is supported by chambers of commerce and economists. Though Foley was not referring to the Yes on 1 group, spokeswoman Holly Robichaud said his comments “diminish” the public support behind their ballot drive. Meanwhile, the PAC endorsed Republican Charlie Baker for governor on Thursday. Marty Lamb, who broke away from the ballot committee to start a PAC focused on supporting candidates in favor of the ballot question, said he’d like to run ads in the governor’s race, or others, but it will depend on fundraising. The PAC is preparing a filing for the Office of Campaign and Political Finance due next Tuesday, but as it stands now Lamb said donations would have to pick up for the PAC to aggressively advertise. “Right now, definitely not a TV ad in the upcoming future unless we get some pleasant news,” Lamb said. – M. Murphy/SHNS

Former Sen. Warren Tolman, one of the two Democrats running for attorney general, on Thursday released his second ad and took aim at the National Rifle Association. The 30-second spot shows Tolman standing outside the NRA’s headquarters in Virginia, saying, “I’m Warren Tolman, and as attorney general, I’ll take on the NRA and use existing state law to require fingerprint trigger locks on new guns sold.” In a reference to his primary rival, fellow Democrat and former prosecutor Maura Healey, Tolman said, “My opponent says we should wait, but we should never wait to protect Massachusetts.” Healey has said they agree on the so-called “smart gun” technology, that she has a more comprehensive public safety plan and accused Tolman of softening his position on “smart guns” during a Lowell Sun editorial board meeting. “Maura’s experience led her to embrace a comprehensive solution while Warren Tolman has talked about one idea this entire campaign,” Healey spokesman David Guarino said in a statement. “Maura will continue to lead and advocate for a comprehensive plan that truly addresses gun violence as the people’s lawyer.” The Tolman ad also features him standing outside the Watertown home where he grew up and saying that was where his parents died from smoking, and standing outside the State House, where he “forced tobacco companies to disclose the poisons in cigarettes.” Healey on Thursday was endorsed by former Somerville Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay. “Maura’s values are Somerville’s values – expanded opportunity, diversity, and justice,” she said. Winchester Republican John Miller will square off in November with the winner of the Sept. 9 Democratic primary. – G. Dumcius/SHNS

As the Democratic primary in the governor’s race enters the final stretch, Congressman Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) expressed some regret about staying out of the contest. Capuano, who has served in Congress since 1999, opted last year to run for reelection this fall instead of launching a gubernatorial bid. Asked during a Wednesday night appearance on WGBH’s “Greater Boston” whether he had regrets about it, Capuano said, “Well, of course, I mean, yeah, that’s human nature.” He added, “But, in general, I’m pretty satisfied with my decision. There have been moments I’ve regretted it. That’s, again, normal. But I think that if I had made the other decision there would be more moments that I would regret that as well. So I’m pretty satisfied, I think we have a good crop of candidates and I think we’re going to have a good election.” WGBH’s Adam Reilly also asked Capuano about a bid by some Bostonians to have the city host the 2024 Olympics, which Capuano said was “possible” but “difficult.” “I have my questions. I’ve expressed them to the most vocal proponents in the sense that I think it’d be great, but at the same time it has to be great and more than just [a] good feeling,” Capuano said. “I’m not interested in having facilities that after the day is over sit there empty or impose on a location. That’s not what the proponents are advocating. But there are a lot of details to work out.” The potential for upgrades to the state’s transportation infrastructure as a result of the Olympics “I actually think could be a good thing,” Capuano added. “It might give us the incentive to actually do some of the transportation projects that we all want….Green Line, North-South rail link, and a whole bunch of other things, who knows what. But at the same time I am not yet a proponent.” – G. Dumcius/SHNS

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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