NPR logo Coakley Will Face Baker In Massachusetts Governor's Race

Coakley Will Face Baker In Massachusetts Governor's Race

Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley celebrates with supporters as she claims victory in the primary election Tuesday in Boston. Elise Amendola/AP hide caption

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Elise Amendola/AP

Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley celebrates with supporters as she claims victory in the primary election Tuesday in Boston.

Elise Amendola/AP

Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker will face off in November after winning the nominations of their respective parties for governor on Tuesday.

While Coakley won the Democratic primary by a smaller majority than expected, Baker trounced his opponent with more than 74 percent of the votes.

After defeating Steven Grossman and Don Berwick in the primary, Coakley wasted no time pouncing on her new opponent.

Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker speaks to supporters during his primary election night victory rally Tuesday in Boston. Stephan Savoia/AP hide caption

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Stephan Savoia/AP

Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker speaks to supporters during his primary election night victory rally Tuesday in Boston.

Stephan Savoia/AP

"So, Republican Charlie Baker has a very different vision for Massachusetts," she said. "Charlie Baker believes working families should be on their own when their children are sick or when adult parents need care."

In a swanky ballroom at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, she went on the attack, criticizing Baker for not endorsing earned sick time and universal pre-K.

Baker, who celebrated his win at the more low-key Venezia Restaurant in Dorchester, said Democrats haven't proposed any new ideas.

"We have a detailed plan to create jobs from one end of the commonwealth to the other. They don't. We have a plan to restore fiscal discipline and keep taxes low; they don't," he said to a cheering crowd of supporters.

Most analysts say Baker is at a numerical disadvantage. He needs to court women and the non-enrolled.

Ben Thompson, a 67-year-old from Dorchester, says Baker should also pay attention to minorities.

"In 2010, he conceded the black vote and the Latino vote to Deval Patrick, which made sense in a way," Thompson said. "He wasn't going to win that battle. This is a different election, a different candidate."

Thompson was celebrating Baker's win at the campaign party last night, but he admits he did not vote for Baker in 2010.

"I was a Deval Patrick supporter four years ago," Thompson said. "It was a black thing. Now, it's not. Now, it's issue, not the party — that's why I like Charlie."

Thompson says he likes Baker's positions on welfare and prison reform and thinks the Republican could peel away some minorities who usually vote Democratic.

A new WBUR poll shows 56 percent of people across the board think Baker is a strong enough leader to be an effective governor. For Coakley, not as many people would say the same. And, in fact, 38 percent do not think she is a strong enough leader to be an effective governor.

The poll also suggests far more people see Baker favorably than unfavorably. That's not the case for Coakley.

Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC polling group, the organization that conducted the survey for WBUR, says that while Coakley won last night, the margin of victory is cause for concern.

"She started off halfway around the track in the Democratic primary. Very high support, very high name recognition, and still, at the end of the day, Steve Grossman almost caught her. So she's, in a way, got to restart the engine and build some new momentum," he said.

Coakley has suffered from an image problem throughout this race. Fellow Democrats have questioned her viability to capture the corner office because of her loss in the 2010 Senate election.

Baker also faces some long-term challenges having lost the same race to Patrick four years ago. He still starts off behind Coakley in the polls and has to figure out a way to thread the needle with the women's vote.

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