Donald Berwick, former Obama administration official, kicks off bid for governor

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Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a former Obama administration official, quietly launched his campaign for governor on Monday, more than 16 months before voters hit the polls to elect a successor to Governor Deval Patrick.

An expert on health care cost and quality but a political novice, Berwick kicked off his maiden run for elective office, becoming the first big-name Democrat to enter what is expected to be a robustly contested race for the corner office.

Berwick, a 66-year-old Newton pediatrician, who spent a year and a half running the country’s massive Medicaid and Medicare programs, is lauded by fellow health care experts for his intelligence and effectiveness on national health policy.

But he chose to launch his campaign in an unusual fashion: in an e-mailed press release, while he was out of state.

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