Martha Coakley intends to seek third term
A slate of recent moves that have heightened her public profile have raised questions about her political ambitions, but Attorney General Martha Coakley said Wednesday she plans to seek a third term as the states top lawyer.
Right now, first of all my focus is on doing my job. Secondly, my intent would be to run for reelection, she told the News Service after an event at Suffolk University. Im particularly engaged in all of the things were doing right now, including health care and health care costs, making sure that civil rights are protected ... Thats my focus and thats where Im going to keep my focus.
Coakleys reputation took a beating in 2010 when she lost to Republican Scott Brown in a special election for the U.S. Senate. Coakley, who was heavily favored to win that race, was portrayed as an aloof and uninterested campaigner, vacationing during a pivotal stretch of the race.
But she has spent the last two years rebuilding her reputation, taking aggressive postures on foreclosure issues (she sued five national banks for fraud), on energy issues (she called for competitive bidding of renewable energy contracts), and on alleged campaign finance and ethics violations by public officials.
Coakley has also ramped up her media profile, particularly since hiring former New England Cable News reporter Brad Puffer as her communications director in April 2011. Reporters have been on the receiving end of a noticeable uptick in press releases on victories large and small claimed by her office and staking out ground on public policy matters, such as anti-human-trafficking, foreclosure prevention and prosecuting public corruption, an area she was accused of being weak on during her reelection campaign.
Her efforts appear to be working: a Boston Globe poll released over the weekend found Coakley to be the most popular statewide figure in Massachusetts, besting Brown, Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and other statewide figures in the eyes of likely Bay State voters.
According to the poll, 62 percent of likely Massachusetts voters view her favorably, with just 23 percent viewing her unfavorably. Brown, on the other hand, is viewed favorably by 54 percent of likely voters, with 29 percent viewing him unfavorably. In other poll results, Patrick garnered a 57-27 rating, Murray was split at 29-30, and Treasurer Steve Grossman is at 30-6, with most voters unable to identify him.
Coakley generated waves of headlines Monday for pursuing conspiracy charges against former state treasurer Tim Cahill, who she says misused taxpayer funds to boost his 2010 campaign for governor. Cahill pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Superior Court and his attorney called Coakley overzealous.