SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 17, 2014

Dems hit campaign trail after party convention

BOSTON — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick said Monday he was confident he would make himself better known to primary voters in the coming months and dismissed attempts to frame the race as one between Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Treasurer Steven Grossman.

Berwick, a pediatrician and former federal health care administrator, qualified for the Sept. 9 primary ballot after finishing third at the state Democratic convention on Saturday. He almost edged out Coakley for second place among the nearly 4,400 delegates who voted.

Grossman, who won the convention endorsement, and Coakley both kicked off statewide campaign swings on Monday.

While Berwick, a first-time candidate, made inroads with many liberal party activists, recent polls suggest he remains largely unknown to the much wider state audience. For example, a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll released before the convention found nearly 60 percent of 800 likely Democratic voters surveyed had never heard of Berwick, and few had formed an opinion about him.

“Getting name recognition is what a campaign is all about,” Berwick said in a conference call. He predicted voters would be receptive to his agenda, which includes a call for a single-payer “Medicare for All” health care system and repeal of the state’s casino gambling law.

While saying he would have sufficient financial resources for his campaign, Berwick did not say whether he planned statewide TV ads that could be critical to getting prospective voters’ attention during the summer months.

Berwick had about $229,000 in his campaign account at the end of May, compared with $910,000 for Grossman and $528,000 for Coakley, according to state records.

Grossman touted his convention victory over Coakley in a statement Monday that ignored Berwick.

“The people of Massachusetts have a clear choice this fall: Do you want a progressive job creator or a career prosecutor as your next governor?” asked Grossman, who headed his family’s business, Massachusetts Envelope Co., for several decades before being elected state treasurer in 2010.

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