On Monday, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley showcased their differences in the Massachusetts gubernatorial debate moderated by NECN's Latoyia Edwards at Worcester's Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Coakley addressed reports that she is behind in some polls in a state that has favored Democrats historically; however, earlier Monday, the New York Times placed Coakley with 45 percent in favor of the Democrat and 41 percent in favor of the Republican.
"I believe this race is pretty close right now," Coakley said. "I'm confident we're going to win on Nov. 4."
It didn't take long for the candidates to begin disputing the hot topic of the Massachusetts economy. Baker said that the difference between him and Coakley is he will not raise taxes for the citizens of the Bay State.
"He has a typical Republican playbook of cut taxes for big businesses," Coakley said, adding that she will invest in the people, rather than give breaks to corporations.
Another topic that has the state divided is the question of Boston hosting the 2024 Olympics. Baker said he believes it's a great planning exercise, while Coakley supported the plan fully.
"I say go for the gold," Coakley said.
Health care and the problems that Harvard Pilgrim have faced was another point of disagreement. Coakley told Baker that the turnaround resulted in layoffs and lost care, as he made choices Coakley said she would not have made.
"You look at the bottom line and don't see people," Coakley explained.
"So, you don't have any suggestions about how you would have dealt with the problems at Harvard Pilgrim?" Baker asked Coakley, prompting an applause from his supporters.
"That's not the point," Coakley said. "You are always looking at the bottom line, and so that's one example of it."
The candidates soon segued into Baker's quest to seek 100 percent support of Massachusetts voters, specifically the support of women.
"I don't have a group called 'Men for Martha," Coakley shot back. "I look at the people who haven't had a seat at the table."
There were a few questions that Baker and Coakley agreed on in the lightning round, including support of the casino law and the freezing of coalition rates. In addition, both candidates said they will stop running for public office if they lose the 2014 gubernatorial race.
NECN, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Telegram & Gazette and Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts hosted Monday's debate.