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Capuano to run for reelection, not governor

“I understand you only get certain opportunities in life,” US Representative Michael Capuano said.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe staff/file 2009

“I understand you only get certain opportunities in life,” US Representative Michael Capuano said.

US Representative Michael E. Capuano, after months of preparation for a possible candidacy, will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor, removing what would have been one of the party’s most serious contenders for next year’s primary election.

The Somerville lawmaker said Thursday that he will instead run for another term in the seat he has occupied since 1998.

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“After taking time to reflect with my family, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for governor in 2014,” he said in a statement. “I am truly touched by the support and encouragement I received throughout this process, but believe that I can best serve the Commonwealth in Congress. I will continue to be a strong voice for progressive policies in Washington.”

His senior political adviser, Paul Trane, called the move “a quality-of-life decision.”

“Mike, [his wife] Barbara, and his family have grown accustomed to the schedule of Congress,” Trane said. “The idea of putting all of them into a brighter spotlight for what could be nine years was something he was not willing to do.”

By forgoing the gubernatorial race, the 61-year old Capuano, who has long been considered a potential candidate for governor and ran a failed bid for Senate in 2009, has almost certainly closed the door on any future races for higher office.

“You only get so many opportunities in life,’’ he said in an interview last month when asked whether a decision not to run for governor meant he would serve out his public career in the US House. “I have no idea what the future brings, but I understand you only get certain opportunities in life.”

His decision comes on the heels of a new poll that shows Attorney General Martha Coakley with 57 percent, holding a commanding lead in the Democratic race. If Capuano had entered the race, the poll suggests that her percentage of votes would fall to 41 percent. Capuano would capture 21 percent in that scenario, with everyone else, including state Treasurer Steve Grossman, in the single digits, according to the survey taken by Public Policy Polling.

The survey runs counter to many analysts’ views that a Capuano candidacy would have been a boost for Coakley, that as more men jump into the race, the more divided the non-
gender-focused vote becomes, making the gender-based vote that much more important.

Capuano competed with Coakley in the special 2009 US Senate Democratic primary that included two other men. With strong backing from women’s political forces, she handily won the nomination, but lost the January final election to Scott Brown.

Capuano advisers argue that his record on women’s issues is strong and that it was never highlighted in the Senate race.

Coakley will face competition for women’s support from Juliette Kayyem, the only other woman currently in a race that also has three men vying for the nomination. Kayyem, a homeland security expert and former Globe columnist, is far less known and has no experience running for public office.

Also running for the Democratic nomination is Donald Berwick, who ran Medicaid and Medicare in the Obama administration, and Joseph Avellone, a biotech executive. State Senator Daniel A, Wolf of Harwich, the founder of Cape Air, suspended his campaign pending his appeal of a State Ethics Commission opinion over his company’s business relationship with Logan Airport.

Joshua Miller of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Frank Phillips can be reached at frank.phillips@globe.com.
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