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Candidates for Massachusetts governor launching TV ads to reach voters before primary election

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BOSTON — With just a month to go before the state primary, candidates for governor and their supporters are taking to the airwaves in an effort to reach Massachusetts voters — many of whom are more interested in beach weather updates than political pitches.

On Tuesday, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley unveiled her first television ad of the campaign.

The 30-second spot focuses on what Coakley says is her record of advocating for victims of violence, particularly women and children, and taking on big financial institutions for "defrauding homeowners and destroying dreams" during the state's foreclosure crisis.

The ad also counts "the political insiders, the big-money super PACs, the old boys' club" among Coakley's foes.

"They're all against her," the ad says. "That's OK. She's not fighting for them. She's fighting for us."

In an email to supporters, Coakley said she's proud of the ad's message.

"It tells you exactly what kind of governor I'll be: one who fights for the people of Massachusetts — not Wall Street, and not the political insiders," wrote Coakley, who has worked much of her life as a prosecutor, serving two terms both as Middlesex District Attorney and state Attorney General.

Coakley's campaign said the ad will run through the Sept. 9 primary.

The ad comes a day after fellow Democratic candidate Steve Grossman launched his second TV ad of the campaign.

In the ad, Grossman says one of his priorities as governor will be instituting universal pre-kindergarten. Grossman, who narrates the ad, said education is the key foundation for a strong workforce.

"Universal pre-K is a moral obligation and an economic imperative," Grossman said in a press release. "The zip code in which you were born or in which you live should never determine the quality of the education you receive."

Grossman has just a month to gain ground on Coakley, who has been holding a double-digit lead in polls in the Democratic primary.

A third Democratic candidate, Don Berwick, has yet to launch a television ad, although he's unveiled Internet spots highlighting his support for so-called "single payer" universal health care in Massachusetts.

Two super PACs — also known as independent expenditure political action committees — have launched TV ads for Grossman and for Republican candidate Charlie Baker. Super PACs are supposed to operate independently of a candidate's official campaign committee.

The pro-Grossman Mass Forward Independent Expenditure PAC has been running an ad faulting Coakley for not supporting a proposal to limit gun purchases in Massachusetts to one per person per month.

The ad lists Grossman's mother Shirley Grossman as one of the top contributors to the super PAC. A new state law requires ads sponsored by super PACs to list their top five contributors who have given more than $5,000.

A second ad by the Commonwealth Future Independent Expenditure PAC credits Baker with cutting taxes, creating jobs and improving social services as former Gov. William Weld's "strong right hand" and helping rebuilding Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Baker served as both Health and Human Services secretary and later as budget chief for Weld and as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim.

Among the top contributors to the PAC are Mitt Romney's former chief of staff Beth Myers and the Republican Governors Association.

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