- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Martha Coakley has agreed to limit her campaign spending so she can participate in the state’s public campaign financing program.

Coakley, the state attorney general who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, joins fellow Democratic candidates Joseph Avellone and Donald Berwick and Republican candidate for governor Mark Fisher in seeking public funds.

Coakley and the other candidates must agree to limit their campaign expenditures to $1.5 million for the primary and $1.5 million for the general election. In return, each gubernatorial candidate is eligible for up to $750,000 for each of the two campaign periods, if the funds are available.

State elections officials estimate there will be just $1.25 million in the campaign fund to be divided evenly between the primary and general election campaigns.

Democratic candidates Steven Grossman and Juliette Kayyem, and Republican Charles Baker, will not seek public funds.

The sole source of funding for public financing is the State Election Campaign Fund, which allows taxpayers to direct $1 from their tax liability to the fund each year.

Candidates who have decided not to participate in the public financing program must file a statement of the maximum they intend to spend for their primary election campaign by June 6.

If the candidates for governor who are participating in the public financing system reach the minimum threshold of $75,000 in qualifying matching contributions for the primary, there won’t be money available for other statewide candidates in the primary elections.

In 2010, more than $1.4 million was distributed to seven candidates running for statewide office according to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

In the primary that year, $525,163 was distributed to four statewide candidates. In the general election, $894,689 was distributed to five candidates.

Public financing for campaigns has been in place for every statewide election in Massachusetts since 1978.

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