BOSTON (AP) - Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray has raised more in campaign donations in the past year than any other statewide officeholder on Beacon Hill, more evidence that he's preparing for a gubernatorial run next year.
The Worcester Democrat collected nearly $447,000 in contributions through the end of December, according to an Associated Press review of state campaign finance records.
The review found that the next highest Beacon Hill fundraiser was Treasurer Steven Grossman, a fellow Democrat and another likely candidate for governor in 2014. Grossman raised more than $352,000 in donations.
The third-highest fundraiser was Attorney General Martha Coakley, also a Democrat, who pulled in nearly $230,000 in contributions.
The strong fundraising totals by Murray and Grossman reflect early political jostling as candidates hope to gain a financial edge even though the gubernatorial campaign is still a year off and a likely special election for U.S. Senate is dominating political talk in the state.
The numbers also reflect Murray's fundraising muscle despite a series of political setbacks, including an early morning highway crash in November 2011 in which he totaled his state-issued car.
Speaking before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in November, Murray gave the clearest indication of his political aspirations, saying "like many of you in the room, I would like to be governor."
Grossman also hasn't been shy about his interest in running for governor.
He told WCVB-TV that he was "leaning strongly in that direction" when asked about a possible run.
Gov. Deval Patrick has said he won't seek a third term.
Murray's strongest fundraising month was December when he collected nearly $155,100, much of it in the final weeks of the year, when he held a major fundraiser. Grossman also saw his biggest surge in December, when he raised more than $114,300.
Grossman reported an ending balance for the year of $442,200 compared with nearly $359,500 for Murray, although the totals don't include money transferred into savings accounts.
Coakley was followed by Patrick, who collected more than $171,000 in 2012; state Secretary William Galvin, who pulled in about $151,000; and state Auditor Suzanne Bump, who raised more than $87,000 in contributions.
All three are Democrats.
There are several Republicans said to be weighing possible campaigns for governor in 2014 including former gubernatorial candidate and one-time CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Charles Baker, former Gov. William Weld, and Wrentham state Rep. Daniel Winslow, who also served as chief legal counsel for former Gov. Mitt Romney.
Baker hasn't begun actively raising money for the gubernatorial campaign, but he reported more than $31,300 in his campaign account. Winslow reported nearly $19,200 in his account as of mid-October.