He has been among Beacon Hill’s most press-friendly Republicans, handy with gimmicky hijinks that poked fun at Democrats and their granite supermajorities in the Legislature, sometimes to the annoyance of his GOP colleagues.
Then he was a contender for the US Senate seat that opened earlier this year when John F. Kerry became secretary of state.
And, until days ago, Republicans considered Daniel B. Winslow, a Norfolk Republican, a likely occupant of the ticket that will be put before voters in November 2014. Privately, he had told associates he would probably run for attorney general if the Democratic incumbent, Martha Coakley, opted to run for governor, as she announced Sunday that she would.
Winslow teased his announcement on Twitter Sunday, leading many political observers to believe he was planning to go public with plans to run for the law enforcement post. But on Monday he said that, instead of pursuing higher political office, he would resign from the House to take a job as a software executive.
A former district court judge and chief legal counsel in Governor Mitt Romney’s office, the second-term state representative told the Globe that he could no longer afford public life.
“The fiscal realities of public service have come to the fore,” said Winslow. “I realized that if I were to win public office, let alone run for public office — that if I were to win, I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills.”
Winslow said he has one child in college, another in graduate school, and a third planning to go to college next year. He also carries a hefty campaign debt. He said he planned to take another look at politics probably in four years.
State Republican Party chairwoman Kirsten Hughes told a reporter that Winslow would leave a void in the state’s political scene, “especially for you guys — you never knew what he was going to do.”
“He certainly will stay on the radar, in terms of somebody to touch base with,” Hughes said.
Winslow finished a disappointing distant third in the Senate primary, behind nominee Gabriel E. Gomez and former US attorney Michael J. Sullivan. But Winslow rejected the idea that divisions within the party had fueled his decision.
Instead, he said, his upcoming personal bills and lingering campaign debt had prompted him to join the growing parade of elected officials seeking increased financial fulfillment in the private sector.
On June 30, Federal Election Commission documents showed Winslow’s political committee was more than $160,000 in debt. Winslow said Monday the committee was still $154,000 in the red.
In July, the Federal Election Commission ruled, in response to a Winslow petition, that married gay couples must receive equal treatment under election laws, permitting them to make political contributions jointly from the same account.
Winslow, whose petition was followed by a similar one from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said he hoped to leverage the decision into a fund-raising windfall that would help him retire his campaign debt.
Winslow’s private finances, at least, should grow a bit healthier once he resigns his House seat, on Sept. 29, to take a position as senior vice president and general counsel of Rimini Street Inc., a Las Vegas-based company that provides software support services for Oracle and SAP licensees.
He said he would retain his legal residence in Massachusetts and keep an apartment near San Francisco, and plans to travel to Europe, Asia, Australia, and Canada.
Asked Monday about how much his new job would pay, Winslow replied, “More than I make now.”