Being a Terrible Candidate Isn’t What Doomed Martha Coakley

Mother Jones

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Four years after losing a Senate special election to Scott Brown, Massachusetts Democratic attorney general Martha Coakley is on the brink of defeat in another race that was hers to lose. Both Fox News and ABC have called the governor’s race for Republican Charlie Baker, but Coakley has pledged to fight on—at least until Wednesday morning.

The result, if it holds, is a gut-punch for Democrats in the Bay State, where Coakley once led by 29 points. As the race tightened in the campaign’s final month, heavyweight surrogates came to Massachusetts to stump for the nominee. But in the end, not even Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton could save Coakley from another electoral defeat.

The easy takeaway here is that Coakley is a spectacularly bad candidate, woefully out of touch with Massachusetts voters. “You could call her the Bill Buckner of politics, if she even knew who the Red Sox were,” as Politico Magazine‘s Ben Schreckinger put it in October. But if you really know who the Red Sox are, you’d know that Buckner’s famous gaffe came only after the rest of the team had already blown the game. And that’s sort what happened here—the loss stemmed from a confluence of factors, not a singularly flawed candidate.

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Being a Terrible Candidate Isn’t What Doomed Martha Coakley

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