COURTING HER DISTRICT

There is a sense among some voters, however, that Murray has not wielded that power to the greatest benefit of her home district.

She has been countering that by spending an inordinate amount of time there since that 2010 election — as acknowledged by her supporters and detractors alike.

"She's been out talking to folks, doing community coffees, at events all over the district," says Murray's campaign manager, Samantha Dallaire, who has been assigned out from Murray's State House office to run the campaign. "She has always kept a very strong presence in the district."

Murray also seems to be making an effort to be more cooperative with the media (including the Phoenix).

But a certain amount of resentment from constituents may be an inevitable effect of being the Senate president. Murray is always going to be in the news for her involvement in statewide issues and controversies.

The truth is that Murray, judged on her own terms, has had a spectacularly successful presidency. All of her priority legislation has passed, including environmental laws, ethics reform, government restructuring, casinos, and most recently health-care cost containment. She also led the successful fight to keep same-sex marriage legal.

Despite her reputation for abrasiveness and grudge-holding, she has maintained loyalty and support in the Senate, and frequently out-maneuvered the other two power players on Beacon Hill, Governor Deval Patrick and Speaker Robert DeLeo. Not a single Democratic senator has lost a re-election bid while she's been in charge.

She has done all this while mostly avoiding personal fallout from the scandals constantly lapping up against her door. She entered the presidency while under an ethics investigation (stemming from a Phoenix report about tourism funding), which ultimately resulted in no findings of impropriety. Since then, three Democratic senators have been arrested and forced out of office, none involving wrongdoing on Murray's part.

Even the ongoing investigation of patronage in the probation department has not rattled her reputation, despite her prominent mentions in the Ware Report and this year's indictments.

Murray may have dodged another bullet, as it increasingly appears that US Attorney Carmen Ortiz will wait until after the November elections to announce whether the grand jury still meeting in Worcester will issue further indictments — rumored to include sitting senators.

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