UPDATED: February 6, 2013, at 5:36 a.m.
Massachusetts State Representative Daniel B. Winslow announced Tuesday that he will form an exploratory committee to help him consider a run for the Senate seat vacated last week by Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Winslow, who has represented Norfolk since 2011, would be the first major Republican to enter the special election and is the first to form an exploratory committee.
“We need to fix a broken Washington where progress is being hampered by partisan gridlock,” Winslow said in a press release Tuesday morning. “If we continue to elect the same Washington politicians, we can not expect different results.”
Though the forming of an exploratory committee does not necessarily represent a decision to run, Winslow may be pressured to make a quick decision. Massachusetts law requires that any candidate who wishes to enter a party primary for a U.S. Senate seat must collect 10,000 valid signatures from registered party members.
The signatures must be presented for verification by February 27.
“Getting 10,000 signatures, that might not sound so hard, but it can be an uphill battle,” said former Republican congressional candidate Joseph A. Selvaggi.
Selvaggi estimated that a candidate would have to collect over 15,000 signatures to ensure that he had 10,000 eligible names.
“That’s no easy task,” Selvaggi concluded.
As of Tuesday evening, no other major Republicans had launched a campaign, but Douglas Bennett, a two-time Boston city council candidate, had announced that he would run.
Gabriel E. Gomez, a venture capitalist and former Navy Seal, expressed a strong interest in running last week, and sources told The Crimson Monday that a Gomez-Winslow primary was a strong possibility.
The new entrants to the Republican primary come after a host of other influential Massachusetts Republicans—including former U.S. Senator Scott P. Brown, former Governor William F. Weld ’66, and former gubernatorial hopeful Charles D. Baker ’79—turned down the opportunity to run.
Primaries for both parties will be held on April 30. The winner of the Republican primary will likely be an underdog to the Democratic nominee. Congressman Edward J. Markey of Malden is currently favored in his primary against Congressman Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston.
—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattClarida.