Cape state senator, treasurer to run for governor

Daniel Wolf.

Two Massachusetts Democrats made clear Wednesday their intentions to run for governor, adding to a crowded field that could expand further in current weeks.

State Senator Daniel A. Wolf, a Harwich Democrat and founder of Cape Air, said he will run on a message of reducing income inequality.

Treasurer Steven Grossman, a Newton Democrat who has chaired both the state and national parties, said he would tell delegates at this Saturday’s state Democratic convention that he will seek the governor’s office in 2014.


Neither announcement came as a surprise. Wolf had initially told associates he planned to announce last month. Grossman has spent months laying the groundwork for a campaign.

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The 2014 gubernatorial campaign has lagged in coming into focus.

By July 2009, 16 months before the 2010 election, Timothy P. Cahill, then state treasurer, had unenrolled from the Democratic Party with the intention of running as an independent, and Republican Charles D. Baker had announced that he would leave his job at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and launched his own candidacy.

In the 2006 cycle, Thomas F. Reilly, then attorney general, had long since made clear his intentions to run by this point in 2005, and Deval L. Patrick had been a formal candidate for months.

This year, the Senate special election won by US Representative Edward J. Markey consumed much of the state’s political bandwidth. Only now are contenders beginning to emerge.


Wolf, little known outside Cape Cod and the State House, posted a video laying out his business background and saying that he wants to “build on the work of Governor Patrick and Senator [Elizabeth] Warren.”

“I’m excited to announce my candidacy to be your next governor,” Wolf said. He told the Globe he plans to use Saturday’s short convention speech — candidates are limited to five minutes — to discuss “the disparity of wealth and the challenges to our middle class, the economic challenges.”

Wolf, trained as an airplane mechanic and pilot, cofounded Cape Air in 1989. The employee-owned company transports more than 700,000 passengers per year, according to its website.

Grossman’s intentions have long been an open secret in Democratic circles, and he confirmed them Wednesday to a radio station in Springfield, where he was attending an elementary school groundbreaking.

“I think it will be clear, at the Democratic state convention in Lowell this Saturday, that I am running for governor,” Grossman told WSHM-TV.


He told the Springfield television station that his economic background will set him apart from rivals. “Being governor of the Commonwealth is about leadership and providing leadership that leaves no one behind,” he said.

Grossman is former president of the family-owned Grossman Marketing Group and past chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002, another year that featured a crowded Democratic primary.

Former Obama administration health care official Donald M. Berwick and biotechnology executive Joseph Avellone have both formally announced their candidacies. Attorney General Martha Coakley has told advisers she is seriously considering entering the race.

Two of the state’s congressmen, Representatives Michael E. Capuano and Stephen F. Lynch, have not yet ruled out joining the field. Capuano intends to make up his mind in mid-August, according to an adviser.

Homeland security specialist and Globe columnist Juliette Kayyem has been gauging support among party insiders, but is unlikely to run if Coakley decides to.

Saturday’s off-year party confab in Lowell offers activists a first look at the nascent roster of candidates, who face different challenges. Berwick, Wolf, and Avellone will all speak in their capacities as candidates, and will probably deliver introductory addresses, given their low name recognition. Both Grossman and Coakley, as constitutional officers, are entitled to speak as part of routine convention business.

While the Democratic primary field is well populated, Republicans are taking a less aggressive approach. Many party activists expect Baker, the 2010 nominee, to launch a second campaign. Former senator Scott P. Brown has not publicly decided against a bid.

But Baker has told associates that Brown’s plans are not as much of a factor in his own deliberations as are concerns that Massachusetts is not a welcoming place for Republicans to run statewide.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at James.OSullivan@ Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.