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BOSTON -- Martha Coakley became the first gubernatorial candidate to submit the bulk of their signatures to qualify for the ballot with the Secretary of State's office Wednesday, dropping off what her campaign said were over 13,000 certified names.

Coakley is leading her Democratic rivals and Republican candidate Charlie Baker in public opinion polling, but the attorney general said she is not taking her frontrunner status for granted.

"If anybody knows the risks of that, I do. I have won races before and I have not won races before," Coakley, said, referring, in part, to her 2010 loss to former Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in the race to replace the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy in Washington.

Candidates for statewide and federal office have until June 3 to file the necessary number of certified signatures with Secretary of State William Galvin's office. For governor, 10,000 signatures are required to be eligible for the ballot.


Coakley's campaign said it collected nearly 25,000 signatures in total and expects to turn in "several thousand more" signatures before the June 3 deadline,

At a media availability outside the Elections Division office Wednesday afternoon, Coakley was asked if she wants former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to stage her own comeback campaign and run for president in 2016 after being defeated by Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

"I hope she will run. That is her call. Obviously, no one know better than she how hard that is to run, but if she does you will know that she will have learned from the last race and that she needs to win this time around," Coakley said.

As for her own upcoming primary set for September against a potential field of four other Democrats, Coakley said she expects the candidates to rally behind the eventual winner.

"As Democrats, we fight hard in our primaries and then we move on. We always support whoever's going to be successful in that primary race," Coakley said.

When asked how important the party endorsement would be if she won the Democratic Party nominating convention in June, Coakley said her campaign has been focused on getting signatures and that she's looking forward to a strong showing on the convention floor.

"We're going to have plenty of support at the convention. We've always been focused on seeing that as our 15 percent goal to get on the ballot, 'cause the real battle is at the primary," Coakley said.

In addition to collecting signatures, Democratic Party rules stipulate that any candidate must receive at least 15 percent support from voting delegates to the convention in June to qualify for the ballot.