BOSTON—Two more candidates have jumped into the race for Massachusetts governor, including a Democratic challenger to Gov. Deval Patrick.
Human service activist Grace Ross, who ran against Patrick as a Green-Rainbow candidate in 2006 and garnered less than 2 percent of the vote, said she plans to challenge Patrick as a Democrat.
Ross' announcement Thursday came just hours after Jill Stein said she also plans to run for governor as a candidate for the Green-Rainbow Party.
The two join an already crowded field that includes Patrick, Republicans Charles Baker and Christy Mihos, and independent state Treasurer Tim Cahill.
"I'm in the race because no one who's running as a major candidate is addressing the needs of regular people whether it's foreclosures or jobs or health care," Ross said. "People on the ground are angry and they have the right to be angry."
During the 2006 campaign, Ross, a Harvard-educated organizer who cut her teeth championing the causes of women, the poor and the politically disenfranchised, championed a single-payer system under which the government essentially guarantees health care for all.
Ross also advocated a higher minimum wage and said she would scrap incentives used to lure bigger businesses to Massachusetts and use the money for other programs, like encouraging smaller businesses to install solar panels.
Alex Goldstein, press secretary for Patrick's campaign, said the governor "welcomes Grace Ross to the Democratic primary, and the passion and commitment to service that she brings with her."
"He looks forward to a vigorous and substantive discussion about creating jobs, providing affordable health care, and ensuring a quality education," Goldstein said in a statement.
Stein ran for governor as the Green-Rainbow candidate in 2002 and placed a distant third with just 3.4 percent of the vote. Stein also ran an unsuccessful campaign for secretary of state in 2006, when she captured nearly 16 percent of voters.
Stein, who must collect 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot, said Republican Scott Brown's victory in a U.S. Senate special election shows voters are less interested in party labels.
She said she hopes to draw conservative and liberal voters with her opposition to bank bailouts and her support of stricter environmental measures.
"We don't see ourselves as coming from the left or the right," she said. "Unexpected things are happening in Massachusetts."
Stein is planning a formal announcement next week.
Ross' decision to enter the race came on the deadline candidates hoping to run as Democrats must declare their intentions to the party.
Ross faces a series of hurdles. Besides collecting 10,000 voter signatures she must also win over at least 15 percent of delegates to the state Democratic convention to secure a spot on the primary ballot.
She also plans a formal announcement as early as next week.