Ladies First

The woman who should have succeeded Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy could be on her way to succeeding Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and becoming the first female elected governor in the state’s history.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who was defeated by pinup boy Scott Brown in a special January 2010 election to fill out the remainder of Kennedy’s term, is poised to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the Bay State on September 9. She has dominated recent primary polls, and barring unforeseen events, she will face likely Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker on November 4.

On September 2, Boston’s PBS affiliate, WGBH-TV, discussed Coakley’s campaign:

In order to win the general election, Coakley will have to rip the moderate mask off of Baker, who has been trying to position himself as a non-reactionary Republican in the tradition of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld. Coakley must point out that Baker clearly plans to pull a switcheroo–run as nice-guy centrist, then govern as a radical Scott Walker clone. She must mention–early and often–Baker’s controversial ties to New Jersey’s Koch-approved Governor, Chris Christie.

As Boston NPR affiliate WBUR notes, Coakley has already signaled she plans to turn a harsh spotlight on Baker’s record.

In a recent Boston Herald radio debate, Democratic front-runner Martha Coakley questioned Baker’s competence overseeing the construction of the Big Dig.

“Charlie Baker — we can call him Charlie “Big Dig” Baker — talks about spending now against Democrats?” she asked. “He left behind that mess that wasn’t overseen … I came in as attorney general with federal, state, civil, criminal cost overruns … and we sorted that out.”

WBUR also notes:

In between his years in government and his unsuccessful bid for governor, Baker joined the private sector as the CEO of the state’s second largest health plan — Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. He’s credited with bringing the company back from the brink of bankruptcy and turning it into one of the nation’s top health insurers. And, most recently, he worked for the venture capital firm General Catalyst, based in Cambridge.

From [Tufts University political science professor Jeff] Berry’s perspective, Baker’s private sector work should be an objective selling point in this governor’s race, but it depends how the story is told.

“Baker is going to run as a dynamic, problem-solving businessman,” he said. “And the Democrats are gonna portray him not as a bright, dynamic capitalist, but as a greedy plutocrat and someone who’s really out of touch with everyday Americans.”

In reality, Berry said, Baker fits into a long tradition of moderate Republicans. But the trouble is, registered Republicans are a dying breed in Massachusetts.

So in order to win, he’ll need a lot of votes from across the aisle.

Hey, there are plenty of moderate Republicans out there–go to your local cemetery, and you’ll find moderate Republicans all over the place. Baker is not one of them; if he was, then why did he run for governor in 2010 as a climate-change-denying Tea Partier?

This will not be an election, but a trial, with prosecutor Coakley trying to put away an identity thief and con artist falsely representing himself as a reasonable Republican. I’m confident that she will present a compelling case, and that the Bay State’s jury will give Baker a harsh sentence.

UPDATE: More from MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki.

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.