Dan Winslow, former Romney aide, says “I’m in” for Senate

State Representative Daniel B. Winslow, a former judge and onetime aide to Governor Mitt Romney, said Thursday he is entering the special election for the US Senate, the first Republican to officially declare his candidacy.

“I’m in,” Winslow said in a telephone interview. He had said earlier this week that he was “99 percent” certain he would run.

Winslow said he has donated $100,000 of his own money to jumpstart his campaign, which he estimated will cost between $4 million and $6 million.

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On Monday, he said, he is flying to Washington to meet with Republicans on Capitol Hill and with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which controls much of the party’s national fundraising. Nex month, Winslow said, he will resign from his law firm, Proskauer, where he is senior counsel in the litigation department.

“I’m going to be 100 percent running for the US Senate,” Winslow said. “This is a heavy lift. I’m going to give this race everything I’ve got.”

Winslow, 54, is a second-term state representative from Norfolk who served as Romney’s chief legal counsel from 2001 to 2005. Before that, he was a district court judge.

“I have a proven record of respect for Second Amendment constitutional freedoms,” Winslow wrote in an email announcing his candidacy to party activists and supporters. “My experience as a fiscal conservative and problem solver is experience we need in Washington DC. Our future depends on getting this right.”

Many of the bigger-name Republicans, including former senator Scott Brown, former governor Wiliam F. Weld, and former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey, have taken themselves out of consideration.

Other Republicans considering the race include Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr, former congressional candidate Sean Bielat, and Gabriel E. Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL. Jon Fetherston, a former chair of the Ashland Board of Selectman, is also planning to run for the seat.

Two US House members, Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey, are running on the Democratic side.

To qualify for the April 30 ballot, candidates will have to gather 10,000 certified signatures by Feb. 27. That hurdle may weed out many of the little-known candidates who cannot raise substantial sums of money. Winslow said he plans to use volunteers and paid staff to collect signatures and has no doubt he can make the ballot.

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