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Market Basket Drama Draws Attention Of Politicians And Voters

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The Market Basket standoff has become an issue in the Democratic race for governor.

WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller tracked down all three candidates Wednesday as they appealed for votes from seniors at an annual picnic in Somerville, where many rely on their local Market Basket and more than a few once worked there.

One of those former employees is bagboy turned mayor, Joseph Curtatone.

“We’re still a blue collar city, and people need access to affordable foods and it’s the most affordable option for quality food,” the Somerville mayor said.

Related: Shopping Comparison Reveals Market Basket Prices Play Into Customer Loyalty

And some of the seniors in attendance at the picnic said they want to hear candidates taking a strong position on the Market Basket fight.

Candidate Don Berwick said he supports the boycott of the supermarket.

“I’m supporting the workers, I think what they’ve done is courageous. They’re standing up for the kind of management atmosphere that they want to have,” Berwick said.

When asked about Market Basket, state Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman said “it’s not a question of taking sides.”

But when questioned further, he added, “I think the boycott is an entirely appropriate vehicle for people to express their displeasure with management that seems to be mistreating its workers and certainly is mistreating its customers.”

While sympathetic to the workers, Attorney General Martha Coakley, also a Democratic candidate, remained noncommittal about the boycott.

“I certainly think that consumers are making that choice,” she said. “I support that people have the right to choose. If people want to boycott they are entitled to do that.”

Republican gubernatorial front-runner Charlie Baker has also expressed admiration for Market Basket workers, but has said in recent interviews he doesn’t think elected officials should be interfering in the affairs of a private business.

Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he hopes the employee revolt at Market Basket “gets resolved soon.”

Patrick has refused to take sides in the dispute and repeated his stance.

“Getting involved, I think, would mean choosing the CEO of a private company. I don’t think that’s the business of the governor. But I do want peace at Market Basket and in the economy generally,” the governor told reporters.

“It’s a terrible hardship for the people who work there and a terrible hardship for the people that the company serves.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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