You made a good point about Coakley. She wasn't a very good candidate. What about the 2002 gubernatorial election in which the Democrats ran a non-Coakley candidate?
$$$$$ - Not only Romney being unlimited, but O'Brien having zero because the primary was ultra-competitive, and there was no time to reload the war chest because MA has their primary at the last possible practical date.
Romney was also pro-choice. Remember when that was a thing.
And forum fave Jilly Stein didn't completely spoil it, but a woman getting 3.5% as a 3rd party candidate shows that it wasn't so much anti-woman bias.
I know Romney didn't run a good campaign at all, but he didn't in 2012 yet he got nominated for President despite massive hatred from the party base. Again, money solves a lot of problems - even the ones it creates.