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Democrat Juliette Kayyem ponders run for governor

Former Globe columnist opens state account

One observer said the roster of candidates would play a role in Juliette Kayyem’s decision.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

One observer said the roster of candidates would play a role in Juliette Kayyem’s decision.

Democrat Juliette N. Kayyem, a former Boston Globe columnist and onetime Obama administration homeland security official, appears to be moving toward a run for governor.

On Tuesday, she opened a state fund-raising account and resigned her position as a columnist for the Globe, where she was already on leave.

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“We’ll be releasing a statement tomorrow,” Katie Lee, a spokeswoman for Kayyem, said Tuesday evening.

Kayyem, who has been meeting with party activists in recent weeks, served as assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama before she joined the Globe. A Cambridge resident and a frequent presence on television, she has also been a lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Before she joined the Obama administration, Kayyem, 44, served under Governor Deval Patrick as undersecretary for homeland security, a position she was appointed to in 2007.

The new campaign account with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance is a necessary step in the decision to run for governor, as it allows a candidate to begin fund raising.

Barbara Lee, founder of an eponymous foundation that works to help women win elected office, said she had spoken to Kayyem recently and thought the formation of the campaign account was to allow Kayyem to continue looking into the prospect of running for governor.

“The only way to test those waters is by opening that account,” Lee said.

Calls and e-mails to Kayyem were not returned Tuesday.

With an all-male field so far and the prospect of Attorney General Martha Coakley waging her own bid for the corner office, Lee said the roster of candidates would probably play a role in Kayyem’s thinking.

“She’s considering all the aspects of what it takes to run a campaign, and I think she’s considering the potential candidate field as part of her decision,” Lee said.

Democrats currently running for governor in 2014 are state Treasurer Steven Grossman, state Senator Daniel A. Wolf, former Obama administration official Donald M. Berwick, and biotechnology executive Joseph Avellone.

Potential candidates include Coakley, Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville, and US Representative Michael E. Capuano.

Kayyem, a Lebanese-American and a mother of three, met with Democratic activists Sunday, at the home of Joyce Linehan, a prominent Democratic activist in Dorchester.

Richard Wood, another activist who attended the informal event, said he got the feeling that Kayyem was still in the exploratory phase of her campaign.

“I got a sense that the nuts and bolts of running a government, of being prepared, or setting Massachusetts up for the future are some things she would take very seriously and be good at,” he said. “But I’m not 100 percent certain what she would make her biggest priority and how she could achieve some of the things she talked about.”

Jen Deaderick, who also attended the event, called Kayyem “very approachable and friendly and nerdy” in a positive way.

But, Deaderick said, “she’s not totally a politician. She’s still figuring that part out.”

Jim O’Sullivan of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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