BOSTON — Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow is forming an exploratory committee as he decides whether to run for the U.S. Senate seat left open by John Kerry. The committee allows Winslow to raise money as he gauges how much support he has.
Winslow calls himself socially moderate and fiscally conservative. He says he has a record of solving problems with Democrats.
“And what I just don’t know is if there is sufficient support in the Republican establishment for that kind of a Republican,” Winslow told reporters outside the State House Tuesday.
To find out, Winslow wants to spend the next few days meeting with activists and potential donors.
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown ran and lost on a claim he could work with Democrats. But Winslow implied he is different.
“We’ve got to put aside partisan differences and be willing to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk of reaching across the aisle,” Winslow said. “I’ve done it and I would do it again if I were a candidate successfully for the U.S. Senate.”
Unlike Brown, Winslow, who was former Gov. Mitt Romney’s chief legal counsel and also a judge, says he would have voted to confirm former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I’m a big fan of Elena Kagan, Justice Kagan, and you know, if we have good people from Massachusetts to be elevated to positions of such prestige as the U.S. Supreme Court, had I been a senator at that time, it would have been a strong yes vote by me and I would have been proud of that vote,” Winslow said.
Winslow recognizes that Washington Republicans are not popular here. Elizabeth Warren beat Brown in part by pegging him to Senate Republicans such as Mitch McConnell.
“The fact is that our brand, nationally, is something that is a challenge here in Massachusetts, and so the issue is: Do we give up?” Winslow asked. “Or do we fight harder? Do we work harder? I’m so proud of our history, our tradition in Massachusetts, of what we’ve accomplished here as well as for the country. I intend, if I jump in, to work harder. What I need to find out in this process of exploration is: Is there support for that point of view?”
One potential opponent of Winslow’s for the Republican nomination is Cohasset private equity financier Gabriel Gomez. He has been meeting with Republicans in Washington and has impressed some of them. Winslow is looking forward to meeting with national party leaders, too.
“I’ll be down in Washington next week at the beginning of the week and be having a series of conversations to introduce myself to folks and to explore this effort further,” Winslow said.
Massachusetts Republicans have been scrambling to find a candidate for the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry after Brown announced that he would not be a candidate in the special election.
Two Democrats, U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey, are running.
Until he officially jumps in, Winslow is not allowed to start gathering the 10,000 signatures he’ll need by the end of the month to make the primary ballot. But he says he’s not worried about getting the signatures in time.
This post was updated with the All Things Considered feature version.