BOSTON — Richard Sullivan Jr., the state secretary of energy and environmental affairs, is exploring a run for statewide office in 2014 and could be interested in running for either governor or lieutenant governor, according to Democratic sources.
Before joining the Patrick administration in 2007, Sullivan spent 13 years as the mayor of Westfield. As a candidate for governor, he could add a western Massachusetts perspective to a race still taking shape, but predominantly focused on potential candidates from near Boston.
With Gov. Deval Patrick not planning to seek a third term and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray deciding against running for governor next year, there could also be an opening in the field for someone else within the Patrick administration to step forward who could tap into the governor’s political network and run for statewide office.
Sullivan is said to be considering several constitutional offices, including governor or lieutenant governor.
Sullivan would not comment on the possibility of him entering the race, but did not deny his interest or that he has begun talking with people inside the Democratic Party about his chances.
“I’m focused on the governor’s campaign for investments in education and transportation, and when we get through this campaign there will be plenty of time for politics,” Sullivan told the News Service on Friday after Patrick testified before the Legislature on his budget plan.
Sullivan was among the members of Patrick’s Cabinet who committed in January to serve out the remainder of Patrick’s second term, a commitment the governor sought from his top advisers, precipitating the appointments of new administration and finance, public safety, education, and health and human services secretaries.
Sullivan has not yet reached a point when he would consider resigning from the administration to campaign, according to sources near Sullivan.
Prior to taking over as secretary of energy and environmental affairs at the start of Patrick’s second term in 2010, Sullivan joined the governor’s team in June 2007 as Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioner.
Stephen Kerrigan, a Lancaster native and former staffer to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, is the only declared candidate for lieutenant governor, though many other names of public officials have been floated as possible contenders.
Kerrigan launched his campaign after running the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last summer and co-chairing President Obama’s second inaugural in January. He has already won the support of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
The Democratic field for governor is equally wide open, with former Wellesley Selectman Joseph Avellone the only declared candidate in the race. Treasurer Steven Grossman is seriously leaning toward running for governor, and others such as former Obama health official Dr. Donald Berwick, state Sen. Daniel Wolf, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll have either expressed interest or are said to be considering the race.