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Murray assumes top office briefly

On last day in office, lieutenant governor fills in for Patrick

Aides applauded Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray as he left. He joins the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Eric Haynes/Governor’s Office

Aides applauded Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray as he left. He joins the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He was, briefly, acting governor.

With the governor out of state late Friday, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray held a temporary claim on the top job he had long coveted.

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But nine days earlier, Murray had given up on all that, announcing abruptly that he would step down from the administration. His resignation, effective Sunday, makes him the first lieutenant governor to ­resign midterm since 1985, when John F. Kerry was elected to the US Senate. Murray is leaving to become chief executive of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

Though his sudden departure fueled speculation, Murray said it was not prompted by scandals — his November 2011 car crash or an inquiry into his fund-raising by a political ally convicted on felony charges. He said in a statement that he is proud of what he accomplished over 6½ years: “There’s more work to be done, and I am confident that Governor Patrick and his amazing team of partners will finish strong.” Murray will not be replaced, but his staff can stay on “for as long as they would like to be here,” Patrick spokeswoman Heather Johnson said.

Aides said goodbye Thursday, lining up to applaud as Murray left the State House one last time. He spent Friday morning at a Westfield farm and then at a Cabinet meeting. When Governor Deval Patrick left the state Friday afternoon to attend an Obama For America event in Chicago, Murray had one more moment in the Beacon Hill spotlight.

Then it was over and Murray headed home to Worcester.

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at ebbert@globe. com. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieebbert.
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