From the Statehouse News Service –
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 5, 2013….Daniel Winslow, a second-term state representative from Norfolk and former judge, said Monday he is “99 percent” sure he will run for the U.S. Senate this year but that he’s still testing the waters to see if there is room within the Republican Party for a social moderate and fiscal conservative with roots in western Massachusetts.
“I support me. My mom supports me. There’s two votes, and she can’t vote. So I need to make sure that there’s more people than just me who think this is a good idea,” Winslow told reporters on Monday afternoon, a few hours after he announced he would open an exploratory committee to pursue a run for the Senate seat vacated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Republican Party has been in search of a credible candidate to run for Senate since Friday when Scott Brown announced he would not run for a third time. A number of high-profile Republicans have taken their names out of contention with party candidates facing a deadline to gather 10,000 nomination signatures by Feb. 27.
Winslow, who will be in Washington early next week to meet with party leaders, said he plans to take some time before entering the race to talk with activists and donors. He described himself as a pro-choice Republican, born and raised in the middle class of western Massachusetts, with a bipartisan voting record in the House.
“What I just don’t know is if there’s sufficient support in the Republican establishment for that kind of Republican,” said Winslow, who worked as legal counsel to former Gov. Mitt Romney.
Like Brown before him, Winslow appears to be promoting his record of bipartisanship against the two Democrats in the race, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston and U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Malden. Brown’s approach worked in his special election against Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2010 but the tactic was part of a broader campaign strategy that failed last November against Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Winslow said the “R” after his name stands for “reform and results” and talked about occupying the “sensible center” on the political spectrum.
“I think the Senate has plenty of millionaires. But I think we need more senators who have mortgages to pay and have walked in the shoes of the working men and women of Massachusetts,” Winslow said.
Winslow also said he wasn’t concerned about being able to raise enough money to be competitive in a statewide contest. “I’ve got nothing by way of money, but I got a heck of lot of hard work and I know a lot of people who got a lot of money and they like me a lot,” he said.
Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh on Tuesday immediately tied the potential Republican Senate candidate to his former boss, Gov. Romney, whose popularity in Massachusetts has dwindled since his years as governor.
Walsh described Winslow’s record in the Legislature as “lackluster,” and criticized the Republican’s penchant for seeking out media coverage, such as the time he delivered jars of Fluff to the office of the governor’s budget chief.
“Republican Dan Winslow was a member of Mitt Romney’s inner circle who spent last year as one of the former governor’s apologists and political attack dogs. Winslow will work just as hard to stop President Obama’s agenda in the Senate as he did to deny him a second term and send Mitt Romney to the White House,” Walsh said in a statement. “During his time on Beacon Hill, Republican Winslow has shown that he is more interested in grabbing headlines than getting work done for the people of the Commonwealth.”
Winslow called Romney a friend and said he was proud of the work he did with the Romney administration from 2002 to 2004, but when asked if he was a Romney-Republican, Winslow said, “I wish I had his money. The fact is I am my own man. I have my own record in this building and in public service.”
While Winslow would not put a timeline on his exploration period, the lawmaker said he would rely on both volunteers and paid professionals to gather the signatures required to get on the ballot if he takes the leap. “I have no doubt about my ability to make the deadline,” Winslow said.
Doug Bennett, a little known Republican from Dorchester, has announced plans to run, but he told NECN on Tuesday he would not run if Winslow gets into the race. He refused to answer questions posed by the News Service.
Gabriel Gomez, a Cohasset resident and former Navy SEAL, is also giving serious consideration to entering the race as a Republican.
Raytheon safety engineer and political novice Joshua Miller, 34, has expressed interest in running, but indicated to the News Service Tuesday that signature gathering may be an impediment and that he may not run.
Winslow said he would welcome a competitive primary, saying, “I think primaries, if I run, are a great thing . . . We all win as citizens when we have good choices.”
On the Democratic side of the race, Markey and Lynch are both in the race to succeed Kerry in the Senate.
Though Winslow said there are good Democrats, Republicans and independents in Congress committed to finding solutions to the country’s challenges, he said Markey and Lynch were both “part of the problem” and it would matter little who won the nomination.
“It’s the same old same old. Nothing new, and not a clue about how we solve problems in Washington. We’ve got to get new faces, new blood, new ideas down in D.C.,” Winslow said.
On specific policy, Winslow said if he gets into the race he will be putting out statements and taking detailed positions on a variety of issues, including the federal deficit, immigration reform, gun control, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Asked about supporting an assault weapons ban, Winslow called for a “reasoned discussion about ways to reduce gun violence in America” rooted in facts and “solution oriented” but respectful of Second Amendment rights.
Winslow also said he was a “big fan” of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, and had he been in the Senate would have been a strong vote in support of her confirmation.
He also said reforming the country’s immigration system would be key to the economic future of America, and said the solution must balance “fiscal realities with compassion.” He also called for a balanced approach to the deficit and said it would be important to rein in spending and still invest in areas such as education.
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