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June 14, 2014

Mass. Democrats weigh party candidates

BOSTON — The five Democratic candidates for governor are gearing up to deliver their best campaign pitches to thousands of activists from across the state gathered for the party's nominating convention in Worcester.

At stake is a spot on the September primary ballot.

The five candidates for governor — Attorney General Martha Coakley, state Treasurer Steven Grossman, business executive Joseph Avellone, former federal health care administrator Don Berwick and former homeland security officer Juliette Kayyem — each need the backing of at least 15 percent of delegates at the convention to make it on the ballot.

There are also multiple Democratic candidates seeking several other statewide offices including attorney general, lieutenant governor and treasurer.

Those candidates face the same 15 percent rule.

The two Democrats running for attorney general are Warren Tolman, a former state senator, and Maura Healey, a former top deputy in Coakley's office.

The Democrats running for lieutenant governor include former Department of Agriculture regional administrator James Arena-DeRosa, Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung, former presidential elector Michael Lake and former Lancaster selectman Stephen Kerrigan.

Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in the primary and as a team in the general election.

The Democratic candidates for treasurer include Wayland state Rep. Thomas Conroy, Andover state Sen. Barry Finegold and former Brookline selectman Deborah Goldberg.

To avoid some of the voting confusion that dogged the Republican state convention, Democratic party leaders said blank ballots won't be counted. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of votes on the first ballot, the two top vote-getters will go head to head to see who wins the party's endorsement.

A Boston Globe poll found Coakley is holding a 49 percent to 14 percent lead over her next closest competitor, Grossman, among likely Democratic voters. The poll, which included 442 likely Democratic primary voters, was conducted this month and had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

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