When the state’s highest court this week cleared the way for voters to decide the fate of casinos, the Massachusetts political world scrambled to find some clarity about what impact it would have on the 2014 campaign.
The possibilities are intriguing. A boost for Don Berwick? A setback for other ballot questions? And will any other campaign have a chance of gaining the public’s attention now that the battle over slots has begun?
Here are some theories that are making the rounds in savvy political circles:
• Attorney General Martha Coakley, front-runner in the gubernatorial polls, takes an obvious hit for making a legal decision on the casino question — ruling it ineligible for the ballot — that was soundly rejected in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Judicial Court. It plays into critics’ questions about her competency. But Coakley can also use it to her advantage — driving home to organized labor and big casino proponents that she is their strongest ally among the Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Moving too far in that direction however could be dicey for Coakley, too, threatening to alienate another important building block for her in a possible general election campaign, college-educated women. They are far less supportive of casinos than the general voting population. (Republican Charlie Baker’s position of advocating just one casino could be more attractive to that group.)
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