BOSTON (AP) - The contest to succeed Gov. Deval Patrick began to take shape Wednesday on the Democratic side, with Treasurer Steven Grossman poised to become the first current statewide officeholder to enter the race and State Sen. Dan Wolf from Cape Cod announcing that he would be a candidate as well.
The head of Grossman's political committee, DJ Napolitano, told The Associated Press that Grossman would formally announce his plans to seek the 2014 Democratic nomination at the state party's platform convention in Lowell on Saturday.
The 67-year-old Newton resident is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The long-time party activist won the Massachusetts treasurer's office in 2010, his first elective office.
"He's ready to make the next step and serve the people of Massachusetts and bring economic and social justice to everyone in the state," Napolitano said.
Wolf, one of the founders of Hyannis-based Cape Air, declared his candidacy in a video posted Wednesday on his campaign website.
Two other Democrats previously entered the race: Joseph Berwick, a pediatrician from Newton and a former top health care aide to President Barack Obama; and Joseph Avellone, a former Wellesley selectman and executive in the life sciences industry.
Wolf, Berwick and Avellone will each address the Democratic gathering on Saturday, the party said Wednesday.
Other potential Democratic candidates for governor include Attorney General Martha Coakley, U.S. Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch, and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. Recent polls suggest that Coakley remains popular with Massachusetts voters despite her upset loss to Republican Scott Brown in the 2010 special election to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Patrick has ruled out running for a third term.
Charles Baker, former chief executive of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, is weighing another run for the job, and Brown has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.
The jockeying takes place 14 months before the party primaries for governor will be held, and comes on the heels of another special Senate election, won June 25 by U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, to fill the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Grossman leaves the starting blocks with a clear early fundraising advantage, having reported $565,158 in his political account at the end of June. He raised more than $139,000 in the month of June alone, further signaling his interest in the governor's office.
Wolf, 55, of Harwich, promised a strong grassroots campaign focusing on education, improving infrastructure and bridging economic disparities in the state.
"I like having more than a year to get to every neighborhood and every living room in the commonwealth," Wolf said in an interview, adding that he purposely made his announcement this week to get his name on the convention speaking schedule.
The two-term senator touted his experience with Cape Air, which he said began 25 years ago with a single plane and has since grown into a regional airline with more than 1,000 employees and 37 routes, including the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. A pilot himself, he still flies Cape Air's Provincetown to Boston route in a Cessna 402 on most Saturdays.
Wolf said he enjoyed being an underdog in the race and expected to put some of his own money into the campaign but wasn't concerned about having sufficient financial resources to compete. He had $25,747 in his political account at the end of 2012.