By Matt Murphy
State House News Service
BOSTON -- Sen. Daniel Wolf, a Harwich Democrat who founded Cape Air 25 years ago, announced his campaign for governor on Wednesday, and Treasurer Steven Grossman plans to make his intention to run for the Corner Office clear over the weekend at the state Democratic Convention in Lowell.
Wolf and Grossman join two other Democrats already in the race, but the field is expected to grow with Attorney General Martha Coakley and Congressman Michael Capuano also considering runs. Charles Baker, the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee, and former Sen. Scott Brown are considered possible candidates for governor.
Wolf announced his intention to run in 2014 with a press release and a video posted to YouTube, promising to "build" on the work of Gov. Deval Patrick and Sen. Elizabeth Warren and work to grow the middle class. Patrick will not seek a third term next year.
"Together we can show that an economy is better when it grows from the middle out, not the top down, and that government helps build that kind of economy when we spend today's dollars on tomorrow, rather than continuing to spend tomorrow's dollars on today. That's why I am running for Governor," Wolf said.
Wolf's official entry into the race further roils the political waters in the state Senate, where progressive Democrats have slowly amassed a sizable bloc.
Sens. Karen Spilka of Framingham, Will Brownsberger of Belmont and Katherine Clark of Melrose are all campaigning to succeed Congressman Ed Markey, who plans to join the US Senate next week.
And Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, is giving strong consideration to running for state treasurer. Finegold's district includes Dracut and Tewksbury.
Wolf, a second-term state senator from Harwich, joins former Obama administration health official Donald Berwick and former Wellesley selectman and health care executive Joseph Avellone as the only Democrats formally declared as candidates for governor in 2014 when Patrick plans finish his eighth year as state CEO.
All three will speak at the annual state Democratic Party Convention in Lowell on Saturday when several thousand Democratic activists, donors and officials will gather to adopt a new party platform. The three campaigns met Monday with Democratic Party officials to finalize the speaking program.
Grossman, who will play a role at the convention in his capacity as state treasurer, plans to commit himself to running at the convention, but will probably wait until after Labor Day to hold a formal campaign kickoff event, his campaign committee's executive director said after Grossman was quoted as saying he was running.
"I think it will be clear, at the Democratic state convention in Lowell this Saturday, that I am running for governor," Grossman said, according to a report from the CBS News affiliate in Springfield that roughly coincided with Wolf's announcement.
In his video message, Wolf highlighted his experience as an entrepreneur who started as a young mechanic and pilot who grew Cape Air from a company with one plane, six employees and one travel route into an employee-owned company with over 1,000 workers.
"That's my American dream. Bootstrap a company. Create hundreds of good jobs. Build a great life in Massachusetts. Share that success with the people I work with, and support the communities we're proud to serve," Wolf said.
Wolf said wealth has become too concentrated in the hands a small minority, and pledged to combat the disparity with investments in schools, affordable education and infrastructure. He also committed himself to promoting clean energy and fighting climate change, vowing to end the "false division" between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.
Echoing Patrick, Wolf said government should be a "vital partner" in helping businesses grow and build the economy, while also offering those in need "a helping hand."
Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh said he welcomed a competitive Democratic race for governor in 2014 and believes a contest of resumes, ideas and strategies for how to improve the party and the state of Massachusetts will serve the eventual nominee well. "That really works for us and generates good candidates and reflects a vibrancy of the party," Walsh said.
Walsh confirmed that Juliette Kayyem, a national security expert and former assistant secretary in President Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security and undersecretary of homeland security under Gov. Patrick, met with him recently and is taking a serious look at entering the gubernatorial race.
Walsh also said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone will take a "real serious" look at the governor's race if Capuano, who is also from Somerville, decides to seek re-election to Congress instead of running statewide. Other public officials from the around the state are weighing bids for various statewide offices opening in 2014.
While senators running for Congress will not need to give up their seats, Wolf will unless he ends up bowing out of the governor's race for any reason before next year's nomination signature deadline. Similarly, Finegold would have to give up his Senate seat to mount a campaign for state treasurer.
The Senate is already brimming with speculation about potential successors to Senate President Therese Murray, who is barred under legislative rules from serving another term as head of that branch.
State House insiders say Sens. Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst and Stephen Brewer of Barre are the two most active candidates for Senate president.
Walsh said that there are advantages for candidates to be as open as they can about their intentions for 2014 this weekend at the convention. "If you're ready to go it's a good idea to be as formal as you're comfortable with this weekend. It's a great time to socialize and set up future meetings," Walsh said, adding that Labor Day might become a more unofficial deadline for candidates to make up their minds.