US Representative Michael E. Capuano, after months of preparation for a possible candidacy, will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor, removing what would have been one of the party’s most serious contenders for next year’s primary election.
According to Capuano’s senior political adviser Paul Trane, the Somerville lawmaker will instead run for another term in Congress in 2014, hoping to hold on to the seat he has occupied since his election in 1998. Trane confirmed early Thursday afternoon that the congressman would not run, saying Capuano came to the decision as a personal one with his wife, Barbara.
“I think for Mike in the end it was a quality of life decision,’’ said Trane. “Mike, Barbara and his family have grown accustomed to the schedule of Congress. The idea of putting all of them into a brighter spotlight for what could be nine years was something he was not willing to do.’’
By forgoing the gubernatorial race, the 61-year old Capuano, who has long been considered a potential candidate for governor and ran a failed bid for Senate in 2009, has almost certainly closed the door on any future races for higher office.
“You only get so many opportunities in life,’’ Capauno said in an interview last month when asked whether a decision not to run for governor meant he would serve out his public career in the US House. “I have no idea what the future brings, but I understand you only get certain opportunities in life.’’
His decision comes on the heels of a new poll that shows Attorney General Martha Coakley with 57 percent, holding a commanding lead in the Democratic race. Had Capuano entered the race, the poll suggests that her percentage of votes would fall to 41 percent. Capuano would capture 21 percent in that scenario, with everyone else, including state Treasurer Steve Grossman, in the single digits, according to the survey taken by Public Policy Polling.
The survey runs counter to many analysts’ claims that a Capuano candidacy would have been a boost for Coakley — as more men jump into the race, the more divided the nongender-focused vote becomes, making the gender-based voted that much more important.
Capuano competed with Coakley in the special 2009 US Senate Democratic primary that also included two other men. With strong backing from women’s political forces, she handily won the nomination but lost the January final election to Scott Brown.
Capuano advisers argue that Capuano’s record on women’s issues is very strong and that it was never highlighted in the Senate race.
Coakley will face competition for women’s support from Juliette Kayyem, the only other woman currently in a race that also has three men vying for the nomination. Kayyem, a homeland security expert and former Globe columnist, is far less known and has no experience in running for public office.
Also running for the Democratic nomination is Don Berwick, who ran Medicaid and Medicare in the Obama administration and Joseph Avellone, a biotech executive. State Senator Dan Wolf of Harwich, the founder of Cape Air, suspended his campaign pending his appeal of a State Ethics Commission opinion over his company’s business relationship with Logan Airport.