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Democrats start new political action committee aimed at governor’s race

In a sign the race for governor could finally be heating up, local Democrats have formed a political action committee aimed at getting involved in the contest to succeed Governor Deval Patrick.

The Mass Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee was organized on Monday, according to a filing with state.

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The group can raise unlimited amounts of money — from people, labor unions, and corporations — and spend unlimited amounts of money on the 2014 race.

The purpose of the new PAC is to “[c]ommunicate with voters about gubernatorial candidates prior to the November 2014 election,” according to the paperwork filed with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

It is unclear if the group is aimed primarily at boosting a Democratic candidate, or attacking Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker.

The filing lists David N. Martin of Dedham as the chairman and treasurer of the group. Martin, a principal at the Chick Montana Group, a campaign finance firm, also serves as the treasurer for the fundraising committees of a number of Democratic officeholders in the state, including state House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, according to state and federal filings.

A voicemail left with Martin inquiring about the newly formed organization Tuesday was returned on Wednesday by Stephen Crawford, a Massachusetts Democratic consultant who said he was involved with the PAC but offered few details on its purpose.

“We filed the paperwork this week out of an abundance of caution. We are in the process of recruiting organizations to join an effort to become active in the gubernatorial race. The list of participants is still being developed,” he said.

Outside political groups aligned with a major political party sometimes engage in negative advertising against a candidate or candidates of the other party.

Asked if the Mass Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee was set up to spend money against Baker, Crawford said only: “We’re going to be doing independent expenditures in the governor’s race.”

Beyond that, he added, it’s “to be determined.”

Asked whether the group planned on getting involved in the primary in support of or opposition to a Democratic candidate, he said: “We’re still in the process of developing that plan.”

Independent expenditures by definition must be done without consultation or cooperation with a candidate or his or her campaign.

Under state regulations, PACs of this type must file spending reports within seven business days of money being spent. But they only need to report a list of contributors three times: eight days before the primary election, eight days before the general election and in a year-end report.

“We will be forthcoming about the PAC participants and our activities,” Crawford added.

Five Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination for governor: Attorney General Martha Coakley; Treasurer Steven Grossman; Donald M. Berwick, a former Medicare and Medicaid chief and pediatrician; Juliette Kayyem, a former state and federal homeland security official and one-time Globe editorial page columnist; and Joe Avellone, a bio-pharmaceutical executive.

Baker, the 2010 GOP nominee for governor and former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, faces political newcomer Mark R. Fisher in the race for the 2014 GOP nomination.

Three independent candidates are also running: Evan Falchuk, a lawyer and former business executive; venture capital investor Jeffrey S. McCormick; and evangelical Christian pastor Scott Lively.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.

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