Former US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan is taking a very serious look at running for US Senate, reaching out to activists and operatives and collecting signatures required to qualify for the April 30 Republican primary ballot.
But those who have spoken with Sullivan have different impressions about whether he will announce a run. One longtime Republican observer said he wants to first determine whether it is feasible for him to collect the required 10,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot by the Feb. 27 deadline. Sullivan only wants to use volunteers—not hired signature gatherers that cost tends of thousands of dollars—to complete the task.
Activists, particularly in his home base of Plymouth County, have been encouraging the 58-year-old to run. Supporters have created a Facebook page to generate interest and collect signatures, titled “Draft Michael Sullivan for US Senate.”
Sullivan, also a former district attorney and state legislator who is now a partner in John Ashcroft’s law firm, could have a significant impact on a Republican primary.
Sean Bielat, who lost two recent US House races to Barney Frank and Joseph P. Kennedy III opened a federal campaign account this week, typically a step towards joining the race. However his former campaign consultant, Sarah Rumpf, said Thursday in a Twitter post that she has spoken with Bielat and he is not running. “Details coming soon,” she wrote.
State Senate minority leader Bruce E. Tarr said today that he is still weighing a run for US Senate and expects others to enter the field.
“The early press reports were that this was a party that was going to have trouble finding candidates and I think the reality is we’re not going to have that problem at all,” Tarr said. “The question is going to be how many and who are they?”
“I still think this is a wide open situation,” Tarr added. “And I think the testament to that fact is the fact that you still have people like Mike Sullivan thinking about it, and his process seems to have only recently begun.”
Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy SEAL and private equity manager, has said he is running as a Republican, as has Representative Daniel Winslow, a former judge and aide to Mitt Romney.
Winslow said today that he will not sign a pledge intended to curb spending from political action committees in the race. Two Democrats seeking their party’s nomination—Representatives Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey—announced Wednesday that they had signed the pledge, pioneered in the recent Senate election between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown.
“For congressmen Markey and Lynch to posture about outside money in politics when their coffers are already filled with money from outside Massachusetts just shows you how inauthentic this pledge really is,” Winslow said in a statement.
John Walsh, chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, fired back in a statement, accusing Winslow of giving “in to the far right wing of the Republican party.”
“So, when the Karl Rove sleazy ads start airing, voters can thank Winslow,” he said.
Tarr, meanwhile, said he would make up his mind on whether to run by Friday. He said he had spoken already with Brown, the former Republican senator who lost the election to Warren in November. And he said he planned to speak with Sullivan and about a dozen other people this afternoon before making a decision.
Tarr said he believes he could gather the required signatures to make the ballot through a combination of volunteers and paid solicitors.
“The early press reports were that this was a party that was going to have trouble finding candidates,” Tarr said. “And I think the reality is we’re not going to have that problem at all. The question is going to be how many and who are they?”Bierman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman. Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.