BOSTON (CBS) – It’s seven weeks before Democratic primary voters will choose a nominee for governor and the race is about to heat up.
On Tuesday, State Treasurer and Democratic candidate Steve Grossman will launch the first TV ad of the campaign.
Seemingly stuck well behind Attorney General Martha Coakley in the polls for months now, Grossman is trying to turn that around by drawing a blunt contrast with Coakley on a key issue – job creation. But the big question for Grossman may be: Is that really what this race is all about?
Grossman is hitting the airwaves with a big-money TV buy aimed at drawing what he thinks is a crucial difference between himself and Coakley.
“Who do you trust to grow our economy as governor? A career prosecutor or a proven jobs creator?” the Grossman ad asks.
On Monday, Grossman told WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller that “the job of governor to me, overwhelmingly is about how are you a steward of the economy.”
But is there a difference between the candidates?
Coakley commented to Keller that “this election is going to be about who’s going to be able to drive the economy forward.”
Coakley insists she’s been an economic warrior.
“I certainly ran as an attorney general on the platform of promoting a healthy economy as the governor did, and then of course Wall Street crashed our economy,” Coakley said. “They took our money, they gambled with it. What we’ve been doing is I’ve prosecuted Wall Street.”
Grossman disagrees with Coakley’s portrayal of herself.
“I don’t see that she ran as a jobs creator,” he said. “I see that she ran to be attorney general of the commonwealth.”
Grossman’s chosen contrast, which he’s about to bet $300,000 on, makes sense given his business background. But Coakley has built a huge lead in the polls in part on the notion that a Democratic primary, traditionally dominated by female voters, will revolve more around issues of special interest to women and the prospect of the first female Massachusetts governor, than around economic policy.
“I think the state wants a governor who will be able to lead the state in many of the things we care about,” Coakley said. “It’s not just about jobs.”
When Keller suggested to Grossman that it appears the campaign may be more about women, women’s issues, and the prospect of electing a woman, he responded: “Jobs are women’s issues.”
Of course there’s a third candidate in the Democratic race, health care executive Don Berwick, who also has experience creating jobs. When Grossman was asked Monday about Berwick’s record, the treasurer delivered the ultimate back-handed compliment, saying he’ll look forward to consulting with Berwick after he’s elected.
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