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State Senator Ben Downing decides against US Senate campaign to replace John Kerry

State Senator Benjamin Downing has decided against waging what he concluded was a longshot campaign for US Senate.

The Pittsfield Democrat issued a statement at midday saying he had been heartened by the response that word of his possible candidacy had received, but sobered by the daunting financial challenge he faced.

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US Representative Edward J. Markey, a Malden Democrat who has said he will run if, as expected, Senator John F. Kerry resigns to become secretary of state, already has $3.1 million in his federal campaign account and also enjoys the endorsement and financial backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The Washington-based group works in concert with the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to elect Democrats to the US Senate.

Two of Markey’s fellow congressmen, Representatives Michael E. Capuano of Somerville and Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston, have said they will announce their decision about their own possible campaigns once Kerry is confirmed for his new job.

Former Senator Scott Brown and former Governor William F. Weld have been mentioned as possible candidates for the Republican Senate nomination.

In his statement, Downing said:

“Over the past three weeks, I have spoken with family, friends and colleagues throughout the state about a possible run for the US Senate. The response was overwhelmingly positive, not only from my friends in western Massachusetts, but from fellow public servants, party activists, and citizens of all stripes. I will be forever grateful for their words of encouragement, advice, and endorsement.

“I wish their faith in me was enough to sustain a campaign, but I know that every consideration – especially financial – must be made before a race of this type is undertaken. After considering every aspect of a possible campaign, I have determined that I will not be a candidate for the US Senate in the upcoming special election.

“I am blessed with a wonderful wife, great family and friends, and an incredible job, representing the community that has given me every opportunity in life. I am excited to continue representing the people of western Massachusetts in the state Senate, and I look forward to taking an active role in the upcoming campaign to ensure that the next senator represents the values of Massachusetts.”

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