Once last weekend’s State Democratic Convention wrapped up, things began to heat up both outside and in a number of races as the candidates shifted their focus to September’s primary election.
On Monday, Attorney General Martha Coakley visited Dorchester for the first time since before the Dorchester Day parade. Some in the neighborhood have not forgiven her for her absence from the annual march earlier this month that saw State Treasurer and fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman and GOP front-runner Charlie Baker parading along the route.
Coakley came by to speak with fast-food workers at MassUniting, a Dorchester-based state-wide group fighting for a $15 minimum wage and union rights. For Coakley, it was a kickoff to a two-week tour promoting an economy that gives everyone a “fair shot” at economic success. When asked why she decided to discuss these issues in Dorchester, Coakley answered, “We’re going to spend the next 12 weeks in this primary both talking about turning this economy around on our terms, but also really hearing from folks because that’s where the issues are.”
She plans to come back to the neighborhood many times before the Sept. 9 primary, her campaign said.
Intra-party jockeying over September’s ballot came to a head in Worcester, where Grossman (35 percent), Coakley (23 percent), and former health care executive Don Berwick (22 percent) all crossed the 15 percent threshold for delegate votes to earn a primary ballot slot. Joe Avellone and Juliette Kayyem failed to reach the magic number, with Kayyem, at 12 percent, barely missing out, and disappointing one prominent Dorchester Democrat.
State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry told the Reporter that although she was not endorsing Kayyem outright, she had cast a vote for the former Homeland Security advisor to keep her voice in the race. Dorcena Forry also introduced and voted for attorney general candidate Warren Tolman, who won the party’s endorsement, edging out Maura Healey, 52-48. They will face off in the primary.
Tolman received a number of high-profile endorsements leading up to and following the convention, including boosts from Mayor Martin Walsh on Saturday morning before the convention opened, and from US Rep. Stephen Lynch on Monday afternoon.
“It’s all about September,” Tolman told the Reporter on Monday before Lynch arrived at Greenhills Irish Bakery. Even though he carried a majority of the delegate vote, Tolman said he still has a lot left in his arsenal, noting that, unlike Healey, he did not contact delegates ahead of the convention with campaign mail, and yet he still gained the endorsement.
Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Frank Baker, state Rep. Daniel Cullinane, and Suffolk Sheriff Steven F. Tompkins joined Tolman and Lynch at the bakery.
Like Tolman and Cullinane, Tompkins, too, has received the mayor’s stamp of approval with an official endorsement. The Tomkins blessing was just Walsh’s third endorsement since he took office at City Hall, not counting the endorsement/fundraising e-mail he sent out earlier this month in support of a gubernatorial candidate in Maine.
The mayor announced his support for Tompkins at the sheriff’s Roxbury campaign headquarters on Wednesday. Tompkins is running for reelection against challenger and fellow Democrat Douglas Bennett.