, Salem, MA

February 14, 2013

Update: Tarr will not seek U.S. Senate seat

Wire and staff report

Gloucester — State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr confirmed tonight that he will not seek Massachusetts’ vacant U.S. Senate seat, ending days of speculation and his own consideration of running for the post held until recently by Sen. John Kerry.

While acknowledging the positive feedback he’s received, Tarr said in a prepared statement that he decided against running fori national office.

“In my role as Minority Leader of the Senate, I have been committed to confronting problems and defending the best interests of the people of our state ...” Tarr said. “Although our caucus is small in number, our role in protecting public safety, securing fiscal discipline, protecting taxpayers and growing the economy is critical, and I cannot in good conscience turn away from this mission when our state needs leadership now more than ever.”

“While other candidates surely will carry the mantle of reforming our federal government in this special election, I will remain on Beacon Hill working every day to reform state government and create a better future for Massachusetts,” Tarr said. “I will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate, but I will be forever grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from concerned people across this great state over the last several weeks. I will carry that support forward, and never stop fighting for the people of my Senate district and our state.

Tarr, who had initially said he would decide by Monday, had pushed any announcemment back due to the weekend blizzard and his return to the Statehouse for Senate sessions earlier this week, then said earlier today that he would have a decision by tomorrow.

But Tarr and his campaign manager, Lisa-Marie Cashman, called the Gloucester Daily Times shortly before 6 p.m. to announce the senator’s decision to sit the race out.

All of the candidates who would seek the seat that became vacant when John Kerry was named secretary of state face the need to collect 10,000 signatures of certified Massachusetts voters by Feb. 27, in advance of an April 30 primary and a June 26 special election.

The word that Tarr was considering a run drew especially strong support last week from residents and some officials in Gloucester, and across Cape Ann.

“It’s been very encouraging,” he said.

Many in the GOP were thrown for a loop when, first, former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown announced that he would not seek the seat for what would amount to another partial term, and when Richard Tisei, a former state Senate minority leader who mounted a strong challenge to Congressman John Tierney last fall, said he would also sit out the U.S. Senate race.

But Tarr said that, while Republicans were slow to enter the race after Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch declared their candidacies on the Democratic side, the idea that the GOP wouldn’t be able to come up with candidates is proving wrong.

“We’re not going to have that problem at all,” he said.