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Democrat Dan Wolf declines to run for governor

Daniel A. Wolf, who served in the state Senate from 2011 to 2017, has decided not to run for office and keep his focus on Cape Air, where he is CEO, and on advocacy outside elective politics.
File 2013/Boston Globe
Daniel A. Wolf, who served in the state Senate from 2011 to 2017, has decided not to run for office and keep his focus on Cape Air, where he is CEO, and on advocacy outside elective politics.

Cape Air chief executive and former state senator Daniel A. Wolf, who had long considered a bid for Massachusetts governor in 2018, will not run for the corner office this year, he said Friday.

“I’m not running,” the Harwich Democrat said. Wolf told the Globe he is going to continue to focus on his airline business and advocacy outside elective politics.

Three Democrats — environmentalist and entrepreneur Robert K. Massie, former state budget official Jay Gonzalez, and former Newton mayor Setti Warren — are running to challenge Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who remains widely popular in the state. A WBUR survey this month found 74 percent of Massachusetts voters approved of the job Baker is doing as governor.

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The announcement from Wolf, who was seen as able to partially self-fund a statewide campaign, may mark the end of the years-long parlor game about which Democrats will try to take on Baker. Several top prospects, from Attorney General Maura Healey to US Representative Joe Kennedy III, have ruled out bids for governor.

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And the window for the party’s gubernatorial nomination has effectively closed.

Democratic Party caucuses — the sometimes boisterous, sometimes staid events that, taken together, mark the first real test of the campaign — begin early next month. And raising sufficient money for a statewide bid in such a short period of time would prove nearly impossible.

The state primary will be held on Sept. 4.

Wolf, who served in the Senate from 2011 to 2017, made a brief run for governor in 2013, but was thwarted by a State Ethics Commission ruling that his ownership stake in Cape Air, which has contracts with the Massachusetts Port Authority, violated the law prohibiting state employees from having a financial interest in state contracts.

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Later, the Ethics Commission created an exemption that allows Wolf and others in similar situations to hold public office.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.