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Lacking enough signatures, Ross exits governor’s race

Grace Ross gathered only 5,700 of the 10,000 signatures needed to get her name on the Democratic ballot.
Grace Ross gathered only 5,700 of the 10,000 signatures needed to get her name on the Democratic ballot.
By Noah Bierman
Globe Staff / May 20, 2010

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On the rain-slicked steps of the State House, long shot gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross yesterday ended her bid for the Democratic nomination after failing to gather enough signatures to make the ballot.

The announcement was not a surprise, with Ross acknowledging in recent days that she might fall short of the 10,000 certified voter signatures she needed to qualify. On Tuesday, Secretary of State William F. Galvin, whose Elections Division has been monitoring the certification progress by city and town officials, told the Globe that Ross had only about 5,700 names.

As she abandoned her bid yesterday, Ross, a longtime activist who ran for governor on the Green-Rainbow ticket in 2006, struck a defiant tone.

“I think it’s really important for the people of Massachusetts not to give up hope,’’ she said. “There is so much anger on the ground.’’

With Ross out, that leaves Governor Deval Patrick without a challenger in the Democratic primary; it also means the governor cannot qualify for up to $750,000 in public money awarded in contested primaries, though advisers say they were not necessarily going to accept public funding anyway.

“Governor Patrick respects and appreciates Grace Ross for her commitment to a positive, substantive dialogue with voters about job creation, education, and health care, and for the compassion she brings our policy choices,’’ Alex Goldstein, Patrick campaign spokesman, said in a statement yesterday.

At this point, Patrick is set to compete against three general election challengers: Charles D. Baker, a Republican; state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, who is running as an independent; and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein, a potential threat in a close race who could take liberal votes from Patrick.

Ross, standing with four supporters under an umbrella yesterday, said her failure to gain enough signatures showed a flaw in the system that favors wealthy candidates who can afford to hire paid staff and professional signature-gatherers.

“This is really about a much bigger problem for the state,’’ she said, asserting that “regular people have no access to the system.’’

Ross also said voters are becoming disillusioned with a government “that’s not about us.’’

“The real problem is that this race is going to be about who’s ready to give up on government first,’’ she said.

She insisted that she would remain part of the political debate, even if she is not officially running.

Ross said she would soon be publishing a book highlighting the issues that have driven her into politics, including housing, health care, and jobs.

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