BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — As many of the state’s top political names continue to opt out of running for the U.S. Senate, one of its more obscure candidates has jumped in.
Daniel Fishman, a Libertarian from Beverly who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress last year, said he will try to gather the 10,000 signatures required to run for the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry.
“I saw so many conservative candidates refusing to run, I felt like I had to step in and at least try to get on the ballot,” Fishman said.
Fishman, a software engineer who had never run for public office, received 16,668 votes, or 4.5 percent, in his race against incumbent winner John Tierney and challenger Richard Tisei in the 6th Congressional District election in November.
Running a statewide campaign for the U.S. Senate would be a steeper challenge. Fishman acknowledged that his major obstacle will be gathering enough signatures by the April 3 deadline to get his name on the ballot.
Fishman said he wants to get 15,000 signatures to make sure that at least 10,000 will be certified by the state, as is required for Senate candidates.
He needed only 2,000 signatures to run for the House of Representatives and got 2,800 certified. Fishman said he gathered most of those signatures himself but will need help this time around.
“I’m still working my 9-to-5 job Monday through Friday, so I’m really going to rely on volunteers to help me a lot,” he said.
Fishman said he might hire professional signature-gatherers if he can raise enough money. It costs about $2 per signature, he said.
Fishman raised about $12,000 in his Congressional race, including about $8,000 of his own money. He said he will not spend any of his own money in this race.
“I essentially tapped myself out,” he said.
Fishman said he received his first donation, for $100, at 6 o’clock yesterday morning.
Prominent Republicans such as former Sen. Scott Brown, former governor William Weld, former governor’s candidate Charles Baker of Swampscott, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey of Beverly, and Tisei have all said they will not run. Congressmen Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch are in the race on the Democratic side.
Fishman said he can understand why Brown and Tisei chose not to run so soon after running a losing campaign. In his case, Fishman also faced anger from some Republicans who felt he was responsible for Tisei’s loss to Tierney.
“But overwhelmingly I heard the voice of people saying that the idea of limited government and greater liberty for citizens of the state really resonated,” he said.
Fishman, 44, has lived in Beverly since 2003 and in Massachusetts since 1994. He is a UMass Boston graduate and a former special education teacher. He lives with his wife on Colgate Road.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.