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Coakley takes on Governor Patrick’s record, gingerly

Democratic Gubernatorial hopeful Martha Coakley participated in the 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial Forum on Mental Health in Boston, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

Gretchen Ertl/AP

Democratic Gubernatorial hopeful Martha Coakley participated in the 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial Forum on Mental Health in Boston, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

The Democratic candidates for governor have largely avoided criticizing Governor Deval Patrick, the party’s spiritual leader who remains popular with activists and with the electorate at large.

But Attorney General Martha Coakley on Monday began to push back gently at Patrick’s record, part of what is likely to become an increasing trend among Democratic candidates seeking to distance themselves from problematic aspects of the governor’s record.

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Coakley vowed that, if she were governor, she would provide better oversight of state agencies. Better management, she said, could have stopped Annie Dookhan, a state chemist who was convicted of tampering with evidence and jeopardizing tens of thousands of criminal convictions, and could have prevented a state-regulated compounding pharmacy from producing tainted drugs that killed 64 people and sickened 751. Both scandals unfolded under Patrick’s watch.

“I don’t think under a Governor Coakley you would have an Annie Dookhan,” Coakley said in an interview with the Lowell Sun editorial board. “I don’t think under a Governor Coakley you would have a New England Compounding.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at michael.levenson@globe.com.
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