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February 16, 2013

Sen. Tarr: 'I have a job to do'

Minority leader says state duty outweighed draw to Washington

GLOUCESTER — Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr yesterday cited his commitments at the state level and a hesitancy to enter a polarized, partisan Washington, D.C., political environment as his main reasons for pulling away from the U.S. Senate race before stepping over the start line.

Tarr had first admitted he was considering a run for John Kerry’s U.S. Senate seat on Feb. 5, originally saying he would announce his decision last Monday.

Then he delayed that announcement until Thursday, though he said that he and his advisers shifted from one choice to the other “back and forth and back and forth,” until the last minutes before releasing the verdict to the press.

“I had both press releases ready to go,” Tarr said in an interview at the Gloucester Daily Times’ office yesterday morning.

But, in the end, the Republican leader decided Thursday night that his centrist nature was better suited for state Senate office now, considering a point from at least one friend who said he might find himself uncomfortable in the seat with such a divided environment as Congress.

Tarr said the deciding factor in his choice not to seek the federal seat also came down to unfinished business here in the state.

With the state budget about to hit the state Senate and upcoming legislation in areas including welfare reform and criminal sentencing, Tarr said he would be uncomfortable leaving his post as leader of the four Republicans in the state Senate — a leader who frequently talks a tough debate and comes to comfortable compromises with Senate President Therese Murray, a Plymouth Democrat.

“The biggest thing for me is, I’m the minority leader of the Senate, I have a job to do,” Tarr said. “I think this would be a different decision perhaps if I wasn’t the minority leader. I’m very proud right now that in the state Senate we actually accomplish things.”

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