State Sen. Benjamin Downing won't run for U.S. Senate seat

BOSTON (State House News Service) — Sen. Benjamin Downing , after spending weeks flirting with a potential run for U.S. Sen. John Kerry's expected vacant seat, has opted against entering the fray, suggesting fundraising difficulties could have played a role in his decision.

Downing, a Pittsfield Democrat, said he has spent the past three weeks talking with family, friends and colleagues about running for the U.S. Senate, and is grateful for the words of encouragement he received from citizens “of all stripes.”

“I wish their faith in me was enough to sustain a campaign, but I know that every consideration – especially financial – must be made before a race of this type is undertaken. After considering every aspect of a possible campaign, I have determined that I will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the upcoming special election,” Downing said in a statement.

People close to Downing have suggested the western Massachusetts senator had been hoping for a crowded field on the Democratic side to give him a path to victory. So far, that contest has not materialized.

Downing said he looked forward to taking an “active role” in the upcoming campaign “to ensure the next Senator represents the values of Massachusetts.” U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, so far, is the only candidate to publicly declare his intention to run, though U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano and others have said they are considering it. Markey picked up another endorsement on Friday from the League of Conservation Voters, and his candidacy has already been backed by Kerry and Vicki Kennedy.

Scott Brown, who vaulted himself from the state Senate to the U.S. Senate in 2010, still hasn’t announced whether he will run again after losing his seat in November to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday said his guess is that Markey won’t be alone on the Democratic primary ticket. "I've talked to a number of potential candidates. I don't think that the field is complete yet. I don't know that, but I don't think so based on the conversations that I have had. I think that a primary isn't a bad thing at all provided that it is about the issues, and the needs of the people of the Commonwealth, and not sniping and tearing people down," Patrick said.

Copyright 2014 State House News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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