WORCESTER (AP) — Massachusetts Democrats have narrowed their choice for governor to three, with state Treasurer Steven Grossman topping the balloting among delegates Saturday and Attorney General Martha Coakley narrowly edging out former federal health care administrator Don Berwick.
Two other Democratic hopefuls — former homeland security official Juliette Kayyem and business executive and former Wellesley selectman Joseph Avellone — failed to collect the needed 15 percent of delegates, ending their campaigns.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Mark Katic reports
Massachusetts Democrats Narrow Governor Field To 3
Grossman won the backing of 35 percent of delegates at the Democratic state convention in Worcester on the first round of balloting. He won the party's formal endorsement on a voice vote after Coakley, who has led in recent polls of likely Democratic voters, opted not to seek a second head-to-head runoff.
Coakley, a veteran Democratic political figure and the party's nominee for U.S. Senate in 2010 won 23 percent of delegates. Berwick, a first time candidate, collected 22 percent of delegates.
Grossman thanked delegates for their support. During his address to the convention, Grossman laid out his vision for the state's top political office.
"As long as there is a single person anywhere in this commonwealth who lacks a job, who has lost hope, or been robbed of their dignity, our work is not done," Grossman said. "This is no time for part-time progressives."
Coakley is running for governor more than four years after her stunning upset loss to Republican Scott Brown in the special election to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. In her speech to the several thousand delegates at the convention, Coakley said she understood the disappointment and frustration Democrats felt after that race and promised not to let her guard down this time.
"There is no one who is going to travel more miles, knock on more doors, shake more hands, or make more phone calls than me in this race. There is no one who is going to work harder," Coakley said. "And if I earn your support in September, and someone thinks they're going to beat us in this race, they have no idea of the fight they've got on their hands.
Coakley insisted her second place finish was not a disappointment and that her campaign had accomplished its goals. She also said it had been her idea to mention the 2010 defeat in her convention speech.
"I felt it was really important to say to people, 'I know how tough that loss was,'" Coakley told reporters after the vote.
Berwick began his speech with the story of a young black man who beat childhood leukemia only to die, impoverished, in the streets later in life.
"It is a lie that those with great wealth have the right to control our future. It is a lie that corporations are people. They aren't. It is a lie that the poor make themselves poor; that the sick make themselves sick," said Berwick, who has made support for a single payer health system and opposition to casinos the centerpieces of his campaign.
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick is not seeking re-election.
Republicans Charlie Baker and Mark Fisher will both appear on the GOP primary ballot for governor.
Democrats also choose which candidates for other statewide offices would secure a spot on the September primary ballot using the same 15 percent rule in play.
Former state Sen. Warren Tolman narrowly won the party's endorsement for attorney general with 52 percent. Maura Healey, a top aide to Coakley, got 48 percent. Both will be on the primary ballot.
Stephen Kerrigan, a former aide to Kennedy, was the top vote-getter with 38 percent in the contest lieutenant governor. Former presidential elector Michael Lake, with 35 percent, and Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung, with 16 percent, also made the ballot. Former Department of Agriculture regional administrator James Arena-DeRosa fell short with just 11 percent.
Former Brookline selectman Deborah Goldberg topped the balloting with 39 percent of delegates in the race for state treasurer, followed by 34 percent for Wayland state Rep. Thomas Conroy and 27 percent for Andover state Sen. Barry Finegold. All three will make the primary ballot.
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