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The Massachusetts Democratic convention's big subplot: who will run for governor in 2014?

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki  June 2, 2012 03:55 PM

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SPRINGFIELD — With Governor Deval Patrick having declared he won’t seek another term, one natural source of chatter at the state Democratic Party convention was this: Who are the exciting possible future candidates for the Democrats?

So far, at least, there just isn’t a figure easy to imagine as a future Democratic governor on the horizon — and with his peppery, crowd-energizing speech, Governor Patrick unintentionally emphasized the talent gap.

Of the constitutional-office crew, Treasurer Steve Grossman and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray are both thought to be interested. Grossman, who unsuccessfully sought the office in 2002, falls into the category of competent but uncharismatic. Murray, meanwhile, is probably better described as problematic and uncharismatic.

Ask attendees who they thought would or should run, and mostly what you got back were puzzled looks and shrugs — and the expressed hope that perhaps an unknown but unexpectedly talented newcomer would parachute in, the way Patrick did in 2006.

But there were a few new names mentioned as possibly promising future statewide candidates, though not necessarily for governor.

There was some interest in Scott Lang, the former mayor of New Bedford, who actually is mulling a gubernatorial run. Another mentioned as a future statewide candidate, though probably not for the top job, was Kim Driscoll, the mayor of Salem, who was actively working the convention.

So is she hoping to move up? By political standards, Driscoll’s answer qualified as candid. “I like what I am doing now,” she said, “but I want to see what my options are. I think I have some skills, and I might be able to offer them statewide.”

Another on the mentioned list was Lisa Wong, the mayor of Fitchburg, while another possible candidate is said to be state Representative Marty Walz of Boston, who has proved herself a smart, tough-minded, results-oriented legislator.

So is Walz looking? “I am very content with where I am,” she said.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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