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Political Circuit

With nod to Warhol, Coakley’s running in style

In her reelection campaign, Martha Coakley will be sporting an old pair of snazzy shoes. In her reelection campaign, Martha Coakley will be sporting an old pair of snazzy shoes.
September 26, 2010

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At last, the enduring mystery of why Attorney General Martha Coakley lost the US Senate race in January is solved: It wasn’t Scott Brown’s truck. It was her shoes.

Well, she’s not going to make that mistake again. Coakley, running for reelection, has dusted off her, shall we say, unique running shoes — emblazoned with Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s tomato soup cans — and put them to use when marching in parades, knocking on doors, and schlepping to outdoor campaign events.

They’re the shoes she bought when she first ran for Middlesex district attorney about 12 years ago, and she says they are not only super-comfortable but sure-fire conversation starters.

“Invariably, people notice them,’’ said Coakley, who featured the pair in a new video to supporters. “They either love ’em or hate ’em. Some are stunned by them.’’

She stopped short of calling them her lucky shoes, but she did not wear them en route to her loss in the Senate race. Now suddenly facing write-in wonder James McKenna in the November election, she’s not taking any chances this time around.

“Everything else aside,’’ she said. “I needed to pull them back out of the closet.’’

— Andrea Estes

Video trackers manage to fit in behind enemy lines
There are not likely to be any “macaca moments’’ on the Massachusetts campaign trail — named for the racial slur that famously undid former Virginia senator George Allen’s reelection bid four years ago.

Allen directed the slur at a tracker — one of those 20-something kids who follows opposing candidates with a video camera in hopes of getting under their skin, catching them in a slip-up, or both.

Once a semi-secretive novelty, having trackers is now standard practice, and they cover candidates more consistently than many reporters.

Want proof? At a union endorsement Thursday — to which reporters were not invited — Governor Deval Patrick saved his warmest greeting for his tracker from the campaign of Republican rival Charles D. Baker, who had somehow found him. Patrick addressed the young operative, Dakota Hebert, by his first name.

“The governor thinks Dakota’s a nice young gentlemen,’’ said Alex Goldstein, a campaign spokesman.

A nice young gentleman who provided the black-and-white footage of Patrick for a recent attack ad. But hey. It’s just business.

Patrick, of course, sends out his own tracker, Eric Haynes.

“He’s a good guy,’’ said Baker spokesman Rick Gorka. “He has a job to do. We have a job to do, and that’s that.’’

Haynes showed up for a recent campaign event in Methuen and then even went out for a bite with the Baker staff at Bada Bing Pizza & Wings.

It is unknown whether he kept his camera on.

— Noah Bierman

Back behind the counter — for an ad, anyway
Timothy P. Cahill ran Handshakes, a Quincy cafe, from 1981 to 1993. But Tim the smoothie shop guy lives on.

In his latest campaign commercial, the state treasurer and independent candidate for governor strides through a family diner, greeting customers, tossing a tomato, and making sure the cook doesn’t waste any food.

“You see a tomato — I see a profit,’’ Cahill says in the ad. “You see a back door — I see a place profits can go.’’

The 30-second ad is part of Cahill’s argument that he is the only candidate to have run a small business, and thus the only one who understands the pressures small-business owners face.

“As governor, I’ll treat your tax dollars with the same respect I paid my customers,’’ he says in the spot.

Republicans complained that the ad makes it look like Cahill is still in the restaurant business. He’s not. The ad was filmed at McKay’s Breakfast & Lunch in downtown Quincy.

— Michael Levenson

Tweet of the week
It was, to say the least, a week of transition for Timothy P. Cahill. A big-name consultant departs Thursday, and then campaign manager Adam Meldrum (@ameldrum6) bolts on Friday. Meldrum told his Tweeps after resigning, “Best thing about today, can retire from twitter for awhile. What should take me out . . . hmm?’’ He soon had his answer, linking to a Grateful Dead video: “I guess I could do worse than Mr. [Jerry] Garcia’s swan song . . . ‘So many roads’ Enjoy. Its been real folks . . . later.’’

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