• Are candidates for governor missing opportunities to stand out in race?


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Polls show Martha Coakley is the clear frontrunner in the race for governor, and she holds a commanding lead over her nearest competitors, including Republican Charlie Baker.

    With all of the state's scandals continuing to grow under this current administration, it raises questions about whether or not candidates running for governor, especially Republicans, are missing opportunities to draw a contrast.

    As state scandals continue to rack up, a missing child under the care of DCF, the failed health connector website, the drug lab scandal and the compounding pharmacy mess, we have a governor who is on vacation in Costa Rica and weighing a run for higher office.

    Are gubernatorial candidates missing opportunities to make a mark in this crowded race?

    "I think it's very hard for a Democrat, almost impossible for a Democrat, to try to criticize the governor," said Democratic strategist and Liberty Square Group President Scott Ferson. "That's probably a losing strategy."

    Ferson is not affiliated with any gubernatorial candidate, but knows all about how a campaign runs here in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick remains very popular in polls, despite his administration's repeated failures. Ferson says Coakley is running her campaign like a frontrunner.

    "I think Martha Coakley's strategy is she hopes nobody remembers there's an election and she'll just be elected," said Ferson. "She's the frontrunner, which is great. The problem when she was the frontrunner when she ran for Senate a couple of years ago, that didn't work out, so she's now got to be the frontrunner and appeal to the electorate that she's engaged."

    You could understand why Democrats won't say anything negative about the current administration, but what about Republicans?

    Surely you can draw contrasts.

    At best, candidate Charlie Baker has been measured in his criticism.

    "I don't think he's come out against Deval Patrick because Deval Patrick isn't running for governor! And he will be out of there sooner than later," said Diane McNamara, Republican strategist and owner of Fire it Up PR.

    She says it's early, and that Baker is doing what he's supposed to do in February.

    "Right now, I would say that Charlie Baker is doing what every good candidate should do, which is put your best foot forward," said McNamara. "Both of them are waiting. Charlie is putting his best foot forward and he's coming to the campaign with a strategy, with a platform. Martha's is just don't light any fires you have to put out, and that's what I think her strategy is."

    Both strategists agree this race really won't pick up until after Labor Day, when more people will pay attention. Ferson says for a Republican, a 'sprint to the finish in October' might make sense in a heavily Democratic state.

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