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Who Will Replace Murray As Top Candidate For Governor?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

 

With Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray's announcement last week that he will not run for governor in 2014, political observers say the Democratic field is wide open for the state's top office.

Murray was widely viewed as the top candidate for the position, enjoying the support of current Governor Deval Patrick and raising $444,647 through the end of 2012, and his decision to opt out of race in order to spend more time with his wife and two young daughters has altered the political landscape of the Bay State governor's race.

"With Tim Murray dropping out of the race, I think more people are going to take a look at it," said Paul Giorgo, Democratic state committee member for the 1st Worcester District. "I think he was such a formidable candidate that it kept other people out of the race."

The Potential Cost to Worcester

The departure from public office by the Lieutenant Governor and former Mayor of Worcester may have an adverse effect on the turnaround currently underway in the Commonwealth's second-largest city, said Giorgio, who noted that Murray has been the driving force behind many of investments and development projects in Worcester in recent years.

"People won't realize how much it hurts until it happens," he said.

It may be a few years before Worcester's next champion rises to statewide office.

"I don't think there's anybody in office currently that wants to step up," Giorgio said, noting that the lack of a willing candidate is not for lack of talent.

"Tim Murray has been working on this for 20 years. As long as he's had his two daughters, he's been running for statewide office, and that takes a tremendous toll. Today, I think a lot of people don't want to do that."

But Giorgio doesn't think 2014 will necessarily be the end of public life for the 44-year-old Murray either.

"He can take 10 years off, make money, watch his kids grow up, spend time with his family and still be young enough to be a force in Massachusetts politics."

Grossman Rising

In the meantime, State Treasurer Steven Grossman, who has indicated he is leaning strongly in the direction of a run for governor next year, seems to be emerging as the favored Democratic candidate.

"He's got a very good reputation," said David LeBoeuf, a Democratic state committee member for the 2nd Worcester District. "I think that he would be well-received all over the state."

Grossman raised $352,038 in 2012, and had $444,572 in the bank as of mid-January according to the most recent reports filed with the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Blue Mass Group's Charley Blandy said he believes Grossman will run in 2014, noting that the Treasurer previously ran for the state's top office back in 2002.

Other Names in the Mix

Healthcare expert Dr. Donald Berwick has also said he is mulling a run, and he is one potential candidate Blandy said he will be keeping an eye on.

"As a wonk, he is sterling -- should have been one of the most influential minds in America as Obama's head of CMS (Medicare). I will be watching him with great interest."

Both Giorgio and Blandy mentioned the name of U.S. Representative Michael Capuano, who recently announced he would not be running in a special Senate election for John Kerry's seat, as a possibility, but the Congressman has yet to indicate whether he is interested in the office.

Blandy said that state Senator Dan Wolf, the founder and CEO of Cape Air who has also said he is considering a run, will garner some serious consideration in light of his record as a progressive businessman.

Attorney General Martha Coakley's name is still in the mix as well, though she has maintained that she wishes to remain as attorney general.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump has been more visible on the Democratic committee circuit lately according to some members, but she said will not be throwing her hat in the ring for the governor's race.

"I have only one hope for myself for 2014, and that is that voters will look favorably on the work that I'm doing in the State Auditor's office and see fit to reelect me to that position," Bump said.  

Effects of a Special Senate Election

While Murray's announcement late last week has focused attention on next year's governor's race, the special Senate election to replace John Kerry if he is confirmed as President Obama's second-term secretary of state would only be a few months away and would be likely to impact the later contest as well, said Srinivasan Sitaraman, associate professor of Political Science at Clark University.

Assuming that Kerry is confirmed by the Senate, which does not seem to be in much doubt, Governor Patrick will have to choose an interim appointee as an abbreviated election cycle kicks off. Congressman Ed Markey is the only Democrat to formally declare his candidacy for Kerry's seat, but Patrick and others have said they are hoping to see a primary. Who emerges in the special Senate contest may affect the pool of candidates in the governor's contest as well.

That former Republican Senator Scott Brown has remained quiet about his own political future throws another variable into the mix.

"My view on this is that Scott Brown is key both to the Senate and to Governor's race," Sitaraman said, noting that the recent news that Brown has held onto the lease for his campaign office in Boston seems to suggest some political aspirations in the near future. 

 

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