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Taunton’s David Simas rules out Senate appointment, 2014 gubernatorial run

Pete Souza/The White House

President Obama introduced David Simas, the son of Portugese immigrants, to the Portugese media during the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in November 2010.

Taunton native David Simas, a former presidential and gubernatorial aide, said definitively today that he is not a candidate for an interim Senate appointment and also has no plans to be a candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2014.

Instead, Simas told the Globe, he will remain in Washington to work in some capacity in support of President Obama’s agenda.

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Right now that means an assignment at the Democratic National Committee, where he is working on polling and strategic thinking. In the future, it will involve whatever role the president’s top political advisers, David Axelrod and David Plouffe, ask him to play.

“I am committed to being here for the next couple of years,” Simas said in a phone call. “I am here, physically and mentally.”

Simas was a member of Taunton’s School Committee and City Council, as well as Bristol County’s registrar of deeds, before Governor Deval Patrick tapped him in 2007 to be his deputy chief of staff. He served as the governor’s top policy adviser.

After Obama was elected in 2008, he called Axelrod - an adviser to his 2006 gubernatorial race - and recommended Simas for a job in the White House. He worked as a top Axelrod aide, before joining the Obama reelection campaign in 2011 as head of polling and focus-group research.

The shared connection with Patrick and Obama raised speculation that Simas might be a possible interim Senate appointee if, as expected, Senator John F. Kerry is confirmed as secretary of state later this month. The governor has said specifically he wants someone who knows the state’s needs and will be a reliable supporter of them, and also understands federal policy.

Simas also wowed the state’s delegates to last summer’s Democratic National Convention with a breakfast speech he delivered, igniting gubernatorial chatter.

Today, Simas not only ruled out accepting the appointment, but also running to replace the governor when his term ends in two years. Patrick aides still openly marvel at Simas’s grassroots organizing skills, and the fact that he has a working phone bank in the basement of his Taunton home.

Simas said he, his wife, and two daughters are looking forward to spending time together in Washington after a three-month separation at the end of the campaign, and another eight-month one at the beginning of his tenure in Washington.

“We just got back five weeks ago from eight days in Disney World,” said Simas. “That’s probably the only thing that’s more exhausting than an 18-month presidential campaign.”

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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