It is with great pleasure that I support and encourage his run for the office of Attorney General for the state of Massachusetts. ~ Norman E. Hooben
See Write-In Instructions video below
But now Millbury lawyer James P. McKenna, 49, a longtime Central Massachusetts GOP activist, says he will mount a serious write-in campaign for the Sept. 14 primary to try to get on the Nov. 9 general election ballot.
“We couldn't leave Coakley without an opponent in this race, we just couldn't,” Mr. McKenna, 49, said. “At some point, it became clear that we had to do this.”
Mr. McKenna will need 10,000 write-in votes to make the ballot. He said he plans to buy stickers with his name on them so voters can affix them to ballots in the primary.
Mr. McKenna registered his campaign committee Friday with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, which will allow him to start fund-raising immediately.
With no other apparent write-in candidates, Mr. McKenna, who has already met with top party officials about his bid, appears to have the support of the state party.
He said he will focus on campaigning in areas expected to have a high turnout of Republicans. These include the 10th Congressional District south of Boston, where there is an open seat and several GOP candidates; and the 3rd, 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts, which cover most of Central Massachusetts and in which the Democratic incumbents all have Republican opponents.
Joe Shannon, a spokesman for Ms. Coakley, said the attorney general "has a strong record of standing up on behalf of consumers and taxpayers and working to protect our children and communities," he wrote in an e-mailed statement. "The voters of Massachusetts know that they can trust Martha to continue to fight for them and to take on the challenges that make a difference in their lives."
Mr. McKenna said he believes that the attorney general is out of step with Massachusetts voters on illegal immigration and that she has not prosecuted political corruption enough.
“She says that technically, it is not illegal to be an illegal immigrant in Massachusetts,” he said. “The bad news is we can not have the chief law enforcement officer of the state telling us it's not illegal to be illegal.”
He said he would crack down in illegal immigrants with a similar approach to the state of Arizona, which passed a law allowing police officers to demand citizenship identification of anyone they stop.
Under his modified Arizona strategy, Mr. McKenna said he would require proof of citizenship at the time of arraignment of criminal defendants.
Mr. McKenna also criticized Ms. Coakley for inaction on political corruption cases, noting that federal authorities have brought the most significant corruption charges, including those against former Boston state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.
He also said he would establish a public corruption strike force.
Mr. McKenna said that while he is a conservative on social issues, he will focus on illegal immigration and public corruption in his campaign.
He said he is in favor of the death penalty; opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest; and that while he is personally against same-sex marriage, would not seek a ballot referendum to overturn it in Massachusetts.
Mr. McKenna said he had previously considered running for attorney general, but ended up as legal counsel for Republican state auditor candidate Mary Z. Connaughton of Framingham. He said he has left that position to concentrate on the write-in campaign.
Before that, Mr. McKenna was the campaign chairman for former Republican state Senate candidate Stephen N. Paige of West Boylston in 2004 and campaign coordinator for Worcester Republican Gregory White in his 2002 race for Worcester district attorney.
Mr. McKenna and his wife, Katie Lavallee, have six children, ages 8-17.
“This is a long shot, but we're going to get on the ballot, and I think we're going to win,” he said.