Attorney General Martha Coakley begins with an advantage in the Democratic state, but polling shows a majority views Republican Charlie Baker as a strong enough leader to be an effective governor.
The secretary of state's visit to Baghdad comes ahead of President Obama's speech tonight to outline a plan to combat the militant group.
The Russian president also accused the West of staging the crisis in Ukraine in order to "resuscitate" the NATO alliance.
The president has spent most of his tenure scaling back the U.S. military role in the Middle East. Now he appears poised to broaden an operation that will bring with it substantial risks.