State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump will not seek a fourth term in next year’s election, she said Tuesday, ending what would be a 12-year run as the first woman to hold the statewide office and quickly opening the race to replace her.
Bump’s decision did not come as a surprise to many in the state’s Democratic political circles, with one candidate announcing her campaign just hours after it became public and other potential entrants already starting to surface for one of Massachusetts’ six constitutional offices.
“I’ve been thinking about this for some time. It just seems like 12 [years] has been enough time for me to implement the vision for the office,” Bump, 65, said in a Globe interview.
“I’m still excited about what we do and even what I’m doing,” she said. “I just have to think about how I’ll be feeling five years from now. I can’t say with certainly that I would have that same level of dedication.”
Politico first reported Bump’s plans.
First elected in 2010, Bump took over an office where some staff didn’t have adequate training, prompting her to fire 27 employees and reassign 14 others within months of taking office. In the decade since, it’s produced several high-profile audits that found dead people had received millions in welfare benefits and driver’s licenses, and that the state had lost track of 1,800 registered sex offenders.
In one of her most scathing reports, Bump charged in 2017 that the state’s Department of Children and Families had failed to report rapes, abuse, and other alleged crimes committed against children in its care, igniting a fiery public dispute with Governor Charlie Baker.
A former four-term state representative from Braintree, Bump served in former governor Deval Patrick’s cabinet as secretary of labor and workforce development before running to replace longtime auditor Joseph DeNucci.
It took mere hours for campaigns to form to succeed her. Eileen Duff, a Gloucester Democrat and a member of the Governor’s Council that vets judicial candidates, said Tuesday afternoon she would seek the seat, releasing a statement with two endorsements from legislators.
“If elected Auditor, I will take the authority vested in me to do good,” Duff said. “From this office, we can seek equity, accountability, and justice. I am committed to protecting the public dollar and working with all government agencies to ensure best practices are implemented, all for the benefit of the taxpayer.”
Duff will undoubtedly not be alone in the Democratic primary. Chris Dempsey — the director of the advocacy group Transportation for Massachusetts — said Tuesday he is also considering seeking the seat.
The Brookline Democrat cited his time leading the group “No Boston Olympics,” which fought efforts to bring the 2024 Games here, saying it “made it clear to me that Massachusetts needs more watchdogs protecting taxpayers and the public interest. This is the essential role of the Auditor’s Office, and I take this opportunity seriously.”
State Senator Diana DiZoglio, a Methuen Democrat, is also viewed as a potential candidate. DiZoglio said Tuesday she was surprised by Bump’s announcement, which landed hours before the Senate began what’s likely to be multiple days of debate on the state budget. “There’s plenty of time to talk politics,” DiZoglio said in a text message.
Bump said it was too early to say whether she would involve herself in a Democrat primary. But she said she hopes her successor would continue to focus “on the internal workings of the office as much as they will the results of our work.”
“This isn’t just about politics, it’s not just about policy. It’s about how government really works and what actions, what preventative actions, what reform actions need to be taken to . . . maintain the public trust,” Bump said.
Bump’s decision to forgo seeking another term makes her the first statewide official to disclose their plans for 2022.
Governor Charlie Baker has repeatedly said he has not made a decision on whether to seek an unprecedented third consecutive four-year term, while Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat first elected in 2014, is widely seen as a potential gubernatorial candidate next year.
Should Baker not run for reelection, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, his two-time running mate, is also viewed as a likely candidate for the Republican nomination.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who with seven terms in office is the state’s currently longest-serving statewide official, and state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, in her second term, have not said whether they will seek another term.
Matt Stout can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattpstout.