State Rep. Dan Winslow ‘99 percent’ sure he will run for US Senate

State Representative Daniel B. Winslow, a Norfolk Republican, formed an exploratory committee Tuesday and said he is “99 percent” sure that he will run for US Senate in the special election to replace John F. Kerry.

Winslow could be one of two candidates on the Republican side, joining Gabriel Gomez, a businessman and former Navy SEAL who is meeting with senior GOP officials as he explores a run. Many of the better-known figures in the party, including former senator Scott Brown and former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey, have taken themselves out of consideration.

To qualify for the ballot, Winslow would need to collect 10,000 voter signatures by Feb. 27. He insisted that even though he has yet to make a formal decision, he could gather the signatures, saying he has “hundreds of volunteers” waiting to collect them.

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Two US House members, Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch, have already declared candidacies on the Democratic side.

A primary is scheduled for April 30, with a general election June 25.

Winslow, a lawyer with a flair for the dramatic, brings an interesting resume. He has served as a district court judge and chief legal counsel to Governor Mitt Romney. He also recently dropped off vats of marshmallow fluff to Governor Deval Patrick’s budget chief to demonstrate what he argued was superfluous spending.

In the past, he has ruled out running for federal office, instead hinting at a potential run for governor in 2014. On Tuesday, he said he would run against Washington gridlock, arguing that Beacon Hill, often the subject of his barbs, is a relative model of bipartisanship compared with Congress.

“Washington is so broken,” Winslow said. “I’m disgusted by the gridlock.”

Winslow would not say when he would make a final decision. He said he needs to assemble a team and meet with party activists and donors to assess the enthusiasm for his candidacy.