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Coakley camp summons Democratic strategists

Martha Coakley.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

What are you doing Thursday at 2 p.m.?

If you’re a Democratic political consultant in and around Boston, your answer might be: “Reporting to an invite-only strategy session by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial campaign at the downtown law firm representing the casino magnate who just won a gambling license in Everett.”

Scheduled at the Mintz Levin law firm, the meeting is open to roughly 20 operatives, who can expect to hear from Coakley’s high command about its plans for the race’s final five weeks, with multiple public polls showing Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker essentially tied.

“At this meeting we will discuss the state of the race and talk through our campaign strategy and message for the coming weeks,” Coakley campaign manager Tim Foley wrote in an invitation circulated among party strategists last Saturday. “Our team is eager to engage you in this important discussion.”


Coakley advisers said the meeting does not represent concern over campaign strategy with five weeks before the election. Instead, they said, they want to solicit outside opinions, cognizant that Coakley’s losing 2010 Senate campaign was roundly criticized for being too cloistered.

Foley told the Globe the confab would be “more of a check-in with folks we haven’t checked in with on a regular basis.”

Coakley strategist Doug Rubin told the Globe, “Massachusetts is lucky to have a ton of really talented political people and, as a campaign, we want to make sure we reach out to them and engage with them and hopefully help the campaign.”

Rubin recalled a similar meeting during Governor Deval Patrick’s 2010 re-election campaign.

Mintz has also hosted fundraisers for Baker and employs one of his top advisers, former governor Bill Weld. The firm also represents Wynn Resorts, which last month won approval from a state panel for a Greater Boston casino license.


One person who was invited conjectured that the Thursday meeting’s overarching purpose was to calibrate talking points during the campaign’s final five weeks.

“I’d just assume it’s to make sure we’re all rowing in the same direction,” the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another invitee suggested that the meeting was scheduled “more to try to quell the carping” from other Democratic operatives about the campaign’s strategy and tactics, which has only served to reinforce the Baker campaign’s narrative that Coakley has had trouble closing the deal with members of her own party.

The second invitee wondered aloud why the meeting hadn’t been booked for immediately after the Sept. 9 primary, when Coakley’s campaign held meetings with other interest groups, including members of Democratic primary candidate Steve Grossman’s high command, to attempt to close the party ranks.

“It’s going to take Elizabeth Warren, Deval Patrick and [Democratic nominee for attorney general] Maura Healey to drag her across the finish line, with a great [get-out-the-vote] effort, frankly,” the second invitee said.

Coakley’s formal campaign team recently expanded. Longtime adviser Corey Welford, who worked for more than four years as Coakley’s chief of staff in her attorney general’s office, has joined the campaign.

More gubernatorial race coverage:

Charlie Baker’s shifts give fodder to Democrats

Baker campaign’s financial edge over Coakley grows

For independents, it's a tough road to November

Inside Baker’s economic plan, Coakley’s education offer

More from Captital: The week in politics and issues


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