Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, who had been raising money and laying the groundwork for a run for governor but faced tough political questions, said Friday that he would not seek the corner office in 2014.
“As I contemplate the commitment required over the next 20 months (and the following four years as Governor) and weigh that against my obligations and responsibilities to my young family, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for Governor in the 2014 election cycle,’’ he said in an e-mail to supporters. “Nor will I be a candidate for any other statewide office in 2014.’’
“This decision is not arrived at lightly and comes only after a great deal of reflection and numerous conversations with my wife, family, and friends,’’ the Democrat said in the letter.
The announcement was a surprise, given that Murray had raised $447,000 in 2012, more than any other candidates with fundraising accounts at the state level.
As recently as November, Murray, who has served as Governor Deval Patrick’s loyal No. 2 for six years, told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce ‘‘like many of you in the room, I would like to be governor.’’
“I have mixed feelings because if he had decided to run, I would have been ALL in,’’ Patrick said today after a Cabinet meeting at Union Station in Worcester.
His decision will alter the emerging field of Democratic candidates weighing a run, which includes Steve Grossman, the state treasurer, and Donald Berwick, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Notably, it could clear the way for US Representative Michael E. Capuano, an urban liberal who would draw some of the same supporters as Murray, a former mayor of Worcester. Capuano, a Somerville Democrat and former mayor of his city, said this week he will not run for Senate. State Senator Dan Wolf, a Cape Cod Democrat and founder of Cape Air, is also considering a run.
Charles Baker, a Republican who ran in 2010, is considering another run as well.
Murray has been struggling politically for the last year since a mysterious early morning car crash in 2011 and the revelation of his close political alliance with a controversial former housing authority director in Chelsea.
In an October poll by the Globe, 27 percent offered a favorable opinion of the lieutenant governor, compared with 22 percent who said they viewed him unfavorably.
Representative James McGovern of Worcester, a close friend, issued the following statement Friday morning: “I fully understand, respect and admire Tim Murray’s decision to not seek the governor’s office in 2014. The greatest service any of us can render is to care for our families. Today, Tim has chosen to forego this particular campaign to spend more time with Tammy so that together they can focus on their young daughters. That takes both courage and character.’’