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Former US Attorney Michael Sullivan looking seriously at Senate race

Former US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan is taking a very serious look at running for US Senate, reaching out to activists and operatives and collecting signatures required to qualify for the April 30 Republican primary ballot.

But those who have spoken with Sullivan have different impressions about whether he will announce a run as early as today, given the daunting task of qualifying for the April 30 primary ballot in such a short time period. He would need to collect 10,000 signatures from certified Republican or independent voters by Feb. 27.

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Activists, particularly in his home base of Plymouth County, have been encouraging the 58-year-old to run. Supporters have created a Facebook page to generate interest and collect signatures, titled “Draft Michael Sullivan for US Senate.”

Sullivan, also a former district attorney and state legislator who is now a partner in John Ashcroft’s lawfirm, could have a significant impact on a Republican primary.

State Senate minority leader Bruce E. Tarr said today that he too is still weighing a run for US Senate and expects others to enter the field.

“I still think this is a wide open situation,” Tarr said. “And I think the testament to that fact is the fact that you still have people like Mike Sullivan thinking about it, and his process seems to have only recently begun.”

Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL and private equity manager, has said he is running as a Republican, as has Representative Daniel Winslow, a former judge and aide to Mitt Romney.

Winslow said today that he will not sign a pledge intended to curb spending from political action committees in the race. Two Democrats seeking their party’s nomination -- Representatives Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey -- announced Wednesday that they had signed the pledge, pioneered in the recent Senate election between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown.

Tarr, meanwhile, said he would make up his mind on whether to run by Friday. He said he had spoken already with Brown, the former Republican senator who lost the election to Warren in November. And he said he planned to speak with Sullivan and about a dozen other people this afternoon before making a decision.

Tarr said he believes he could gather the required signatures to make the ballot through a combination of volunteers and paid solicitors.

“The folks that we’ve talked to about signature gathering think that we’re well within the window,” Tarr said.

Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman. Phillips can be reached at phillips@globe.com.
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