By Marjorie Nesin
---- — State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr Thursday night decided he will not run for the state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat after contemplating for nearly a week on whether he would make a grab for the seat recently vacated by U.S. Sen. John Kerry.
Tarr, who had begun last week to consider a run for the seat vacated when Kerry took the Secretary of State post, pointed to a commitment to his work on the state level in the areas of public safety, fiscal spending, and economic growth, as his reason for remaining on the sidelines.
”I cannot in good conscience turn away from this mission when our state needs leadership now more than ever,” the Gloucester Republican said in a prepared statement issued Thursday night.
Tarr said he looks forward to remaining in his state Senate role, working especially on issues within the criminal justice system and with reforming the state’s welfare system.
”While I have seriously considered a candidacy for the U.S. Senate to address disturbing federal issues, I have never lost sight of the equally troubling problems facing our Commonwealth,” Tarr wrote.
Tarr had initially said he would have decided whether to run by this past Monday, then pushed any announcement back due to the weekend blizzard and his return to the State House for Senate sessions earlier this week. Tarr, the highest ranking elected Republican in the state government, had said his choice hinged in part on whether he believed he would be more productive in Washington or as the state Senate minority leader.
In recent days, some had questioned whether Tarr would be able to collect the 10,000 signatures of support required by the end of the month for those running. But he told the Statehouse News Service and a Boston Globe reporter Thursday morning that the signatures would not be act as a deciding barrier.
A smattering of Cape Ann residents — Republicans and some Democrats too — who had rushed forward to express support for Tarr’s potential U.S. Senate campaign had called him “a bipartisan guy” and commended him for being accessible to his constituents.
Tarr said he was flattered by the support, he said, and said he will carry the encouragement with him as he moves forward with his state Senate duties.
”I will be forever grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from concerned people across this great state over the last several weeks,” Tarr said.
>Had he chosen to run, Tarr would have faced off in an April 30 Republican primary against former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, who joined the race Thursday, businessman Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset and state Rep. Dan Winslow of Norfolk.
Democratic Congressmen Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch both have declared their candidacies on that side of the April 30 primary run, while Libertarian Daniel Fishman remains in the race too, with the special election slated for June 26.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at email@example.com.