Voters pick Coakley, Healey, Goldberg in big Dem primaries

Edgartown Town Hall. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Tuesday turned out to be a successful day for women in Massachusetts politics, as Martha Coakley, Maura Healey and Deb Goldberg won competitive statewide Democratic primaries for governor, attorney general, and state treasurer, respectively, the State House News Service reported.

While her opponents outpolled her in many areas after dinging her on the trail, Ms. Coakley defeated Treasurer Steven Grossman and former Obama administration health official Don Berwick, a Chilmark seasonal resident, and will move on to face Republican Charlie Baker and three independent candidates on Nov. 4.

Mr. Baker rolled to an easy win over Shrewsbury Republican Mark Fisher. “It is us who have new ideas and specific plans to make Massachusetts great,” Mr. Baker said Tuesday. “Our opponents are stuck in the past.”

Mr. Baker laid out an agenda to create jobs, “clean up welfare once and for all,” reduce the tax burden and reform state hiring processes.

Ms. Coakley, who has Island ties, prevailed even though her opponents racked up more than half of the votes cast in a Democratic primary marked by low turnout. With 94 percent of the vote counted, Ms. Coakley had 41 percent, with 36 percent for Mr. Grossman and 21 percent opting for Mr. Berwick.

Touting access to early education and plans to more evenly spread economic growth in Massachusetts, Ms. Coakley, a two-term attorney general and former county prosecutor, led the race from the start.

Governor Patrick touted Ms. Coakley and knocked Mr. Baker, his 2010 opponent, as he introduced the attorney general Tuesday night. Ms. Coakley said she and her team had outworked her opponents and made clear she will highlight differences with Mr. Baker over an earned sick time ballot question.

“We are united as a party,” said Ms. Coakley, who called for a strong economy and one with “equal opportunity” for everyone. “We want every part of Massachusetts to thrive,” Coakley said, touting a plan to spend $500 million over 10 years on regional economic projects.

Stephen Kerrigan of Lancaster, an aide to former Sen. Edward Kennedy, will join Coakley on the ticket. Kerrigan beat Leland Cheung of Cambridge and Michael Lake of Boston to win the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor. Baker’s running mate, former state Rep. Karyn Polito of Shrewsbury, didn’t have a primary opponent.

Ms. Healey, of Boston, a former pro basketball player in Europe and assistant attorney general who served under Coakley, emerged from nowhere to trounce former state Sen. Warren Tolman of Watertown, whose candidacy was backed by Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. Republican John Miller of Winchester was uncontested in his primary.

“I knew we were underdogs facing some tough odds,” said Ms. Healey, who said that while she was new to campaigning she relied on her familiarity with the attorney general’s office.

“The attorney general is the people’s lawyer and the people’s lawyer fights for all of us,” Ms. Healey said in her acceptance speech, pledging to “end gun violence in our neighborhoods” and to fight for women’s access to health care and against predatory lending.

Ms. Goldberg, a former Brookline selectwoman who runs an adoption agency, dispatched Sen. Barry Finegold of North Andover and Rep. Thomas Conroy of Wayland. Michael Heffernan, a Republican from Wellesley was unopposed in his primary and moves on to face Ms. Goldberg.

“To her credit, a lot of the undecided voters went away,” Mr. Finegold told the News Service after conceding the race shortly after 10 p.m. “I honestly say, I think we did everything we could. That’s why I’m smiling. I look back at the campaign, and I am just very proud of the campaign we ran.”

Auditor Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington and her Republican opponent, Patricia St. Aubin of Norfolk, were also unopposed in their primaries, as were Secretary of State William Galvin (D-Brighton) and his Republican opponent, David D’Arcangelo of Malden.

Congressman John Tierney, an 18-year incumbent Salem Democrat who narrowly defeated Republican Richard Tisei two years ago, was swept aside by fellow Democrat and Iraq War veteran Seth Moulton.

Noting Mr. Tisei was first elected when Moulton was six years old, Mr. Moulton said his win signifies distaste with “the gridlock in Washington” and a desire among voters to keep a Democrat in the seat. He pledged to “fight for equal rights for all” and to improve educational opportunities for all students.

In another closely watched race, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Patrick, defeated Michael Sullivan in the Democratic primary.