As Brother Benen noted yesterday on the Maddow Blog, a new Boston Globe poll shows Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley maintaining a lead in the state’s gubernatorial race. Coakley, who lost a high-profile special US Senate election to Scott Brown in January 2010, overcame that setback and is now effectively making the case that she is the candidate who can best build upon the accomplishments of outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick.

Assuming she wins the September 9 Democratic primary against former DNC chairman Steve Grossman and former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services head Don Berwick, Coakley is expected to face former health-care executive Charlie Baker, who lost to Patrick in 2010. However, Baker, who played the Tea Party card in that 2010 race (his campaign slogan was “Had Enough?”), is attempting to run this time around as an old-school New England non-wingnut Republican–and as Boston PBS affiliate WGBH noted earlier this week, the radical right isn’t too happy about it:

Could Baker’s Tea Party primary opponent, Mark Fisher, pull off an upset in the Republican primary? The conventional wisdom says no, but stranger things have happened. Even if Baker survives the primary, he will still have to placate the radical right–a concern that would not go away if he were to defeat Coakley in the general election.

That’s a dangerous prospect for Bay Staters, especially with regard to energy policy.

Back in his Tea Party days, Baker tried to woo climate-change deniers and floated the idea of abandoning the state’s commitment to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the highly successful northeastern US cap-and-trade effort. While Baker now claims that human-caused climate change is real, he’s still bashing the Cape Wind project as aggressively as he did four years ago, and is still palling around with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who pulled his state out of RGGIand who himself pals around with the Koch Brothers, as Brad Friedman noted in Mother Jones three years ago.

If Coakley ends up facing Baker in the general election, she should remind voters early and often about the radicalized party Baker belongs to, his anti-RGGI rhetoric and his fossil-fueled friend from the Garden State. Baker will try to seduce the electorate by claiming to be a moderate. It will be up to Coakley to remind the voters that seduction is always followed by betrayal.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.