GOP Senate Primary Shaping Up To Be A Three-Man Race03:19

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The deadline for U.S. Senate candidates to turn in their 10,000 voter signatures to get their name on the April 30 primary ballot is here. Three Republicans say they've collected enough signatures to qualify.

GOP state Rep. Dan Winslow, of Norfolk, held a party in South Boston Tuesday to thank his supporters for gathering 25,000 signatures — with help from paid signature gatherers.

"I am so deeply indebted to everybody in this room and for the people who couldn't be in this room who spent the last three weeks in rain and snow and the cold collecting signatures to give people of Massachusetts a choice on the ballot," Winslow told his supporters.

Among the volunteers who worked to gather signatures for Winslow was fellow attorney Joan Kennedy Constant, of Winchester.

"He has a very long, good legal pedigree. He was the justice in a Winthrop District Court and then chief justice in Wrentham District Court. He was the legal adviser to Gov. Romney," Constant said.

Former State House colleagues were among those at the party. Winslow also attracted former Ron Paul supporters — people like Doug Bennett, who organized a signature drive.


"He's a strong constitutionalist," Bennett said as volunteers fanned out on a blustery Saturday from the Braintree Town Hall parking lot to collect signatures. "He is against wars that do not have congressional approval. He supports auditing the Federal Reserve."

Cohasset private equity investor Gabriel Gomez tweeted Tuesday that he also has 25,000 signatures. He has not returned call for comment, but a campaign video shows him heading to the Hingham Shipyard with his family.

"They're going to try to get signatures for our campaign, " Gomez says in the video. Despite this, the Republican Party says Gomez is relying exclusively on paid signature gatherers.

Gomez seems to have lost the support of some Republicans who don't like the fact that he wrote to Gov. Deval Patrick asking to be appointed interim senator. He does have the support of former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who is expected to be present at Gomez's kickoff rally on Thursday.

Supporters for former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan told The Associated Press late Tuesday they had collected enough signatures to get his name on the ballot. Unlike the other two candidates, Sullivan used only volunteers. He has the support of Republicans in Plymouth County, where he was district attorney.

State Rep. Geoff Diehl, of Whitman, has been gathering signatures for Sullivan. At a pizzeria in East Bridgewater, Diehl pointed out that Scott Brown was able to get the signatures he needed to get on the ballot by using only volunteers.

"Scott was able to meet it within a two-week period. Even though we seem to be a small party in this state, Republicans, we actually have great activists who get out there and work pretty hard," Diehl said. "So those activists that delivered in the past are out there right now making sure they are working malls, shopping centers, post offices, everywhere you need to be they are raising signatures."

Gun owners and members of the Tea Party have also been raising signatures for Sullivan. It's shaping up to be a competitive primary that's going to mobilize Republican voters.

Democrats Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch have also said they will be on the primary ballot.

This program aired on February 27, 2013.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.