- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Republican Charlie Baker maintains a hefty fundraising lead over Democrat Martha Coakley as the governor’s race heads into its final full month of campaigning.

By the end of September, Baker and running mate Karyn Polito had more than $1.5 million combined left in their campaign accounts, aides said. That’s almost six times the combined $266,000 cash left in the campaign accounts of Coakley and her running mate, Steve Kerrigan, according to Coakley aides.

In the general election, governor and lieutenant governor candidates for each party run as a ticket.

Baker and Polito also reported raising more than $1 million in September, three times the $334,000 raised by Coakley and Kerrigan.

Coakley and Kerrigan had to spend down their accounts to win crowded Democratic primaries while Baker and Polito faced no primary competition and could stockpile campaign cash.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party had $466,000 left in its state account and $473,000 left in its federal account, Coakley campaign officials said.

The party has already paid for one recent Coakley television ad.

The state Republican Party had $806,000 in its state account and $127,000 in its federal account at the end of September, according to a party spokeswoman.

Each candidate has also benefited from independent expenditure political action committees, also known as super PACs.

The Commonwealth Future Independent Expenditure PAC, funded largely by the Republican Governors Association, has already spent more than $4.7 million supporting Baker and opposing Coakley. The Mass Independent Expenditure PAC, largely supported by unions including the Massachusetts Teachers Association and AFSCME, has spent more than $1 million opposing Baker, state campaign finance records show.

Late Wednesday, Coakley’s campaign criticized the latest 30-second television spot by the Commonwealth Future PAC, calling it misleading and manipulative. She urged Baker to call on the group to pull the ad, which tries to link her to troubles at the state’s Department of Children and Families.

Baker campaign spokesman Tim Buckley said Coakley has “yet to explain to voters her decision to fight child protection advocates seeking to reform a broken DCF,” a reference to a lawsuit Coakley fought as attorney general.

Coakley countered by releasing a video of Magi Bish, whose daughter Molly Bish went missing in 2000 and was murdered, praising Coakley for standing with victims.

The latest fundraising numbers come as recent polls show a dead heat between Baker and Coakley.

The candidates spent Wednesday trying to shore up their core supporters and widen their appeal to voters.

Coakley outlined what she called a comprehensive plan to address the inequalities women face during a visit to the Crittenton Women’s Union, a shelter and service provider in the Brighton neighborhood.

Coakley vowed to expand access to capital for businesses owned by women, work to close the wage gap and ensure earned sick time for all workers. She also pledged to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault and lower dropout rates among young women by increasing the number of school counselors.

“When women succeed, our economy succeeds,” Coakley said.

Coakley is relying on a large turnout by female voters to help her become the state’s first female governor. On Friday, first lady Michelle Obama will visit Boston to campaign for Coakley.

Baker on Wednesday visited the Grove Hall neighborhood and accepted the endorsement of Larry Ellison, the president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers.

Baker has been working to build support in urban and minority communities, traditionally thought of as Democratic strongholds.

“As governor, I will work with civic, private sector and labor leaders like Larry every day to create great jobs, strong schools and thriving communities in every part of Massachusetts,” Baker said.

The election is Nov. 4.

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