The 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial race came into sharp focus on Wednesday, as a potential Democratic candidate failed to qualify for the ballot and the fall campaign winnowed to a four-way field: incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick, Republican Charles Baker, independent Timothy Cahill and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein.
Worcester community activist Grace Ross announced she had failed to collect the necessary 10,000 signatures to qualify for a September primary showdown with Patrick, a fellow Democrat seeking a second term.
Barring any write-in candidates, that means the fall campaign has begun, with the field set for the Nov. 2 election.
Ross, who also ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, fizzled out of the current race, standing with supporters outside the State House to deliver her campaign swan song.
Nonetheless, she seized the moment to complain about the influence the major political parties have in determining gubernatorial nominees and their running mates, about the state's ballot-signature requirements and about the supposed sway corporate interests have over citizen interests inside the State House.
"If we don't get down to the real business of government, which is solving the deeper problems, then we're going to see potentially very ugly not just campaign season but afterwards, where we're fighting over the basic necessities of life with our neighbors," she said.
Speaking later to WBUR, Ross echoed the same message, and said voter support was not an issue with her inability to gain enough signatures.
"Even with us not being able to get over the barriers that are in place of getting signatures and not having money to just got out and purchase them like wealthy campaigns do, the people on the ground are still looking for another solution," she said.
Ross urged the remaining candidates to focus on health care delivery, homelessness and job creation.
"It's really important for the people of Massachusetts not to give up hope," she said. "Yes, I wasn't able to get the signatures this time around, but we know the people of Massachusetts want a change."
Ross pledged to "be as visible as any of the candidates" through talk radio and a book slated for release this year.
This program aired on May 19, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.