Newton Mayor Setti Warren is ‘strongly considering’ a 2018 run for governor

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07/05/2016 -Newton, MA-  Newton mayor Setti Warren poses for a portrait in his office in Newton, MA  on July 05, 2016.  (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Newton Mayor Setti Warren poses for a portrait in his office earlier this year. –Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe

At last, Newton Mayor Setti Warren is (somewhat) publicly considering what he has reportedly been discussing privately: A 2018 bid to be governor of Massachusetts.

In an email obtained by The Boston Globe, the Democratic mayor, who recently announced he will not seek a third term, wrote he is “strongly considering” a run for the corner office and encouraged supporters to make a donation before the end of 2016.

“In the coming weeks, I will be evaluating options about my next steps and one option I am strongly considering is entering the race for Governor in 2018,” wrote Warren, the only Bay State Democrat so far to float a run against Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

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Even in deep-blue Massachusetts, challenging the incumbent governor (and his sky-high approval ratings) is seen as a formidable task for Democrats. Warren is among a very short list of would-be opponents.

“As 2016 closes, there is an important fundraising deadline for us to raise resources to allow a full consideration of all options,” the mayor wrote in his email to supporters. “I would be extremely grateful if you would consider making a donation of any amount before the end of the year to help us get ready.”

In November, the Globe reported that Warren had privately announced his gubernatorial intentions and was soliciting early campaign donations in order to maximize his fundraising capacity over three separate calendar years. One unnamed source told the Globe that the Democrat’s fundraising appeal “was expressly to fund a challenge to Baker.” As Politico reported earlier that month, Warren has also hired John Walsh, a former state Democratic party chair and campaign aide to Gov. Deval Patrick, as an advisor.

This wouldn’t be the first time Warren has sought statewide office.

Two years into his first term as Newton’s first African-American mayor, Warren briefly launched a U.S. Senate campaign in 2011, reportedly at the beckoning of state Democrats like Patrick and Sen. John Kerry. However, he dropped out shortly after Elizabeth Warren, then a Harvard Law School professor with national name recognition, entered the crowded primary race.

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Warren, the mayor, later endorsed Warren, the candidate, who would go on to defeat Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown.