Guv candidates take last shots as campaigns wind down

Photo: Thinkstock

NOV. 3, 2014…..Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker fended off attacks on their credibility Sunday in the final stretch towards Tuesday’s gubernatorial election.

Former Inspector General Greg Sullivan, a Democrat who now works for the conservative-leaning Pioneer Institute, reiterated his contention that shortly after taking over as attorney general Coakley dismissed information about an illegitimate contract for Cognos – the seed of a criminal case brought by federal prosecutors, which sent former Speaker Salvatore DiMasi to federal prison.

Hosting whistleblower Stuart Lecky on a conference call, Sullivan took umbrage at Coakley’s assertion in a debate that Sullivan is “flat out lying or flat out wrong” about her lack of interest in pursuing the case.

Sullivan said he resented being accused of lying, and said the AG’s office didn’t participate with his office and federal prosecutors in the DiMasi investigation. Sullivan said his comments – originally prompted by questions from the Boston Globe – had nothing to do with his current job or the election, and Lecky said he is “apolitical” and hasn’t voted “in years.”

“Greg Sullivan is wrong to question her aggressive pursuit of these cases, and doing it two days before an election makes me question his motivations,” said Tom Reilly, a Democrat who preceded Coakley in office, in a statement released by Coakley’s campaign.

While federal prosecutors spearheaded the case against DiMasi, Coakley has pointed to separate investigations of Cognos and her prosecution of DiMasi associate Richard Vitale for lobbying violations as evidence of her willingness to take on powerful Beacon Hill interests.

On Sunday afternoon, the Massachusetts Democratic Party hosted a conference call aimed at shifting the focus onto the unidentified fisherman that Baker spoke about in an emotionally charged moment at a debate last week, where he described a fisherman who regretted steering his sons away from college scholarships and into the fishery.

“I don’t believe Charlie [Baker]’s fisherman exists because I don’t believe a fisherman would deny their child a free college education,” said Rep. Ann Margaret Ferrante, a Gloucester Democrat whose father and grandfather were fishermen and who worked as a lawyer specializing in fishery law. She said, “If Charlie was truly moved by the plight of fishermen five years ago, then where has he been?”

“Charlie has proposed detailed plans to support small businesses, will work to reform regulations and reduce taxes for middle class families and as Governor will fight to protect this important Massachusetts
tradition,” Baker spokesman Tim Buckley said in a statement, claiming Coakley doesn’t have plans for the fishery. He said, “The Attorney General has made truth the enemy in the closing days of her campaign, likely to distract voters from the disturbing revelations that she worked to shut down a public
corruption investigation and protect her politically-connected allies.”

Polling leading into the final days of the campaign has shown a tight race between Coakley and Baker with the Republican ahead by small margins in several surveys. Both Sullivan’s allegations and the fisherman story emerged in the last full week before Election Day, throwing new variables into the close governor’s race.

“There is a big difference between this issue and Charlie Baker’s fisherman story. Sal Dimasi [sic] is in jail, and the fisherman is still missing,” said Coakley’s campaign manager Tim Foley in a statement.

Coakley spent Sunday at Jubilee Christian Center and the Morningstar Baptist Church in Mattapan with Gov. Deval Patrick before attending a viewing at Faneuil Hall for the late Thomas Menino, who died Thursday. Amid other campaign stops, Coakley visited New England Patriots fans tailgating in the wind and snow outside Gillette Stadium ahead of a 43-21 trouncing of the Denver Broncos.

Baker also attended the Jubilee service and Menino’s viewing, according to his campaign, and campaigned in Malden, Woburn, Roxbury and West Roxbury.

There are three independents running for governor, who have consistently polled in the single digits. They are Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively and Jeff McCormick.

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

Comments are closed.