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POLITICAL HAPPY HOUR: August 26, 2014

Here’s your afternoon gulp of politics from Joshua Miller of the Boston Globe:

GET READY — PRIMARY DAY IN MASSACHUSETTS, RHODE ISLAND AND NEW HAMPSHIRE IS TWO WEEKS AWAY

DEM AG HOPEFULS SPAR IN DEBATE, via David Scharfenberg on BostonGlobe.com: “Attorney general candidates Warren Tolman and Maura Healey laid out sharply different visions for the office in an often testy Globe-sponsored debate just two weeks before they face each other in the Democratic primary. Healey, a former top deputy to Attorney General Martha Coakley, spoke of being a tough litigator who has protected the vulnerable. ... Tolman, a former state senator who pushed significant tobacco and ethics reform through the Legislature, spoke of leading outside the courthouse on issues like sexual assault on college campuses. ... Amid a staid gubernatorial race, the attorney general’s contest has attracted more attention than usual among Democratic activists. Public opinion surveys show a tight race ...” http://bit.ly/1ARPRqy

Continue reading below

MAURA HEALEY IS UP ON TV WITH AN AD TODAY, from me on BostonGlobe.com: “... Maura Healey ... is launching her first television ad today, a high-energy 30-second spot that highlights her tenure in Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office and plays off the fact that as a young woman, Healey was a hoops professional. ...” http://bit.ly/1swSOYy

The peppy spot: http://youtu.be/ovcTjDnL0Ro

SUPER PAC KNOCKS CHARLIE BAKER OVER NEW JERSEY PAY-TO-PLAY QUESTIONS: In a hint of potential attacks to come, a Democratic-aligned super PAC is launching a web video highlighting questions about potential pay-to-play violations involving Baker, who has denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

The group, Mass Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee, is supported by the Democratic Governors Association and local unions. It has bought more than $3 million in television time for the weeks before the general election.

After the video was described to him, Baker spokesman Tim Buckley released a statement criticizing Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Martha Coakley. In it, he references the state’s campaign finance agency concluding this year that Coakley had violated Massachusetts campaign finance law by using her federal US Senate funds for state political activities.

“There is only one person in the race who has violated the law repeatedly and that is Martha Coakley, who has run afoul of the very campaign finance laws she is supposed to enforce,” he said.

Here’s the super PAC’s new web video: http://youtu.be/w02ozdZtEo0

CUTTING IT CLOSE: Venture capital investor Jeff McCormick, an independent candidate for Massachusetts governor, didn’t file the final pieces of paperwork necessary to make the November ballot until around 3 p.m., just two hours before the deadline.

Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the secretary of state, confirmed this afternoon McCormick had officially made the ballot and would be one of five gubernatorial choices for Massachusetts voters this fall. The others are the Democratic nominee, the Republican nominee, and former businessman Evan Falchuk and Christian pastor Scott Lively, both independents.

NEW HAMPSHIRE US SENATE WATCH

JEANNE SHAHEEN CRITICIZES SCOTT BROWN ON CLIMATE CHANGE STANCE, from me on BostonGlobe.com: “At a debate over the weekend, New Hampshire US Senate hopeful Scott Brown weighed in on climate change, later prompting a sharp response from Jeanne Shaheen, the senator he is hoping to unseat. ...” http://bit.ly/1t9T5or

BROWN LAUNCHES TV AD FEATURING SENATOR KELLY AYOTTE:

Story: http://bit.ly/VPHSus The ad: http://youtu.be/83G5T1mQa78

•WILL THIS RACE KILL THE TOWN HALL?, via Niels Lesniewski of Roll Call in Loudon, N.H.: “Will the 2014 midterms prove the death-knell for the traditional New Hampshire town hall? Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown and his backers have been relentless in pushing the case that the Democratic rival he’s trying to unseat, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, has eschewed the traditional format in a way that dodges tough questions ... But should Shaheen ... prevail ... it might be grounds to reconsider the town hall format even for national candidates like those aiming to win the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. ...” http://bit.ly/1BZrY1T

SPEAKING OF TOWN HALLS: Brown is set to hold his fifth one in recent weeks tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Stratham, focused on foreign policy.

BILL CLINTON TO STUMP FOR DEM MICHAUD IN MAINE GOV RACE, via Steve Mistler of the Portland Press Herald: “Former President Bill Clinton will campaign with Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in Portland next week. ... Clinton’s visit comes as the current race is expected to increase in intensity. The three major candidates — Michaud, Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler — have been campaigning for over a year [but] ... state elections here tend not to grab the public’s attention until after Labor Day...” http://bit.ly/VMdwt7

FOR YOUR R.I. RADAR, via The Providence Journal: “The Democratic candidates for governor will meet in a key debate Tuesday night ... [that] will be broadcast live on WPRI-12 and will also be streamed on wpri.com. ...” http://bit.ly/1ARHNpK

SHOCK STUDY — SOCIAL MEDIA USERS SHY AWAY FROM OPINIONS, via Anne Flaherty of the Associated Press in Washington: “People who use Facebook and Twitter are less likely than others to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey ... The study ... challenges the view of social media as a vehicle for debate by suggesting that sites like Facebook and Twitter might actually encourage self-censorship. ... In other words, most of us are more comfortable with ice-bucket challenges than political banter. ...” Link via Salon.com: http://bit.ly/YWwjUe

Maybe that’s why everyone on Twitter links to articles that are “interesting.”

I, for one, have no opinions on anything except this: It would be fantastic if you sent me your tips, thoughts, friendly feedback, tart epistles, or random keyboard peckings. I’m at joshua.miller@globe.com. Also, tweet at me — @jm_bos. I’ll tweet back in opinion-free language.

And for those not on this email list, it’s free — truly! — to join. Click here to sign up for Political Happy Hour, which will return tomorrow.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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