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Steve Grossman ads aim to lift bid for governor

Steve Grossman.

Gretchen Ertl/AP/file 2014

Steve Grossman.

Mired in second place with less than a month before the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman launches his second television ad of the campaign Sunday, highlighting his proposal to provide universal prekindergarten.

The ad, entitled “Limitless” and slated to air for nine days at a cost of $250,000, hits an economic theme, underscoring what Grossman advisers believe is his strongest argument against the front-runner in the polls, Attorney General Martha Coakley. By starting quality education earlier, the state would, according to the upbeat spot, better prepare its workforce of the future.

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“Universal pre-K is central to my economic plan, because having the best-educated workforce in the nation is the best way to create good jobs, and it starts with a 4-year-old whose hopes and dreams are limitless,” Grossman narrates in the 30-second spot, which features images of children and of Grossman talking with employees at his family business.

In total, Grossman advisers say that, including the new ad, they will have spent $582,000 on TV ads so far.

Grossman campaign officials said the ad will air in the Boston market on broadcast and targeted cable stations. It will also appear online across the state.

The buy dwarfs Coakley’s inaugural foray into TV advertising, set to begin this week with an initial purchase of about $56,000. Coakley’s ad is also expected to focus on issues, instead of a biographical theme.

Aides to Charlie Baker, the leading Republican, have questioned how Coakley will manage her resources to both post a convincing primary win and be poised to square off immediately with Baker. Coakley’s campaign has responded that ideas are more important than spending.

Also on the airwaves in an effort to assist Grossman are super PAC ads, funded in part by a $100,000 check by the candidate’s mother, that attack Coakley for her gun-control policies.

Polls show that the pro-Grossman ads have had little impact on the race. A weekly Boston Globe poll shows Coakley has slipped slightly with female voters in recent weeks, but that erosion has been offset by gains among men.

The most recent survey showed Coakley winning 45 percent of likely Democratic primary voters and Grossman garnering 18 percent.

According to the poll, Grossman has gained in a matchup with Republican front-runner Charlie Baker, pulling last week into a dead heat. But Grossman needs to top Coakley in the Sept. 9 primary in order to draw Baker.

Still failing to break out of single digits in the poll is former federal health care administrator Don Berwick, who finished narrowly behind Coakley at the party’s June convention but has not exhibited much momentum since.

Coakley finished July with about $712,000 in her campaign account, compared with $520,000 for Grossman and $586,000 for Berwick.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Jim.OSullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.
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