POLITICS: Campaigns

Independent Jeff McCormick launches Massachusetts governor campaign

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Associated Press,Massachusetts,Campaigns

BOSTON — Jeff McCormick, a venture capitalist from Boston, officially launched his campaign for governor as an independent on Tuesday, pledging to put problem-solving ahead of politics.

McCormick, who founded Saturn Partners in 1993, outlined a plan to use tax incentives to promote job creation. He also said he would work to cut waste and streamline state government.

"An independent has the luxury of not being beholden to the party bureaucracy and partisanship and you can make decisions solely based on the impact on the people of the commonwealth," McCormick said in an interview.

More than 50 percent of registered voters in Massachusetts are not affiliated with either major political party, but independent candidates have typically struggled to gain a foothold in the state.

McCormick said he was encouraged to run as an independent by U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who previously served two terms as governor of that state. McCormick said King told him it was challenging but "quite liberating" to govern as an independent.

McCormick filed papers with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance last fall. He loaned $150,000 to his campaign last year and finished with a year-end balance of about $45,000, according to records.

A father of three children ages 10, 11, and 12, McCormick, 52, said he would seek to strengthen the math and science curriculum in public schools to "educate for 21st century jobs." He also said government must seek innovative ideas to spur growth in small businesses.

Among the companies that Saturn Partners helped create through financing was Boston Duck Tours and the e-marketing firm Constant Contact, according to McCormick's campaign biography.

The last venture capitalist to run for governor in Massachusetts was Republican Mitt Romney, who was elected in 2002 and served one term before launching the first of two White House bids.

McCormick was registered as a Republican in the past but has made more personal campaign contributions to Democrats over the years, in part because of the control Democrats have had over most major political offices in the state, he said.

McCormick dismissed speculation that he would pose the greater political threat to Republican Charles Baker, the 2010 GOP nominee for governor who is running again for the job.

"I will clearly take votes away from both sides," he said.

Democrats who have announced for governor are Joseph Avellone, a business executive; Donald Berwick, a pediatrician and former U.S. health care official; Attorney General Martha Coakley; state Treasurer Steven Grossman; and Juliette Kayyem, a former state and federal homeland security official.

Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick is not seeking a third term.

Mark Fisher, a Shrewsbury businessman, is running against Baker for the Republican nomination.

Baker said Tuesday he was not worried that McCormick might take more votes from the GOP side.

"Anybody who wants to jump into the race and throw their hat in the ring, whatever your favorite cliche is, I'm all for it. It's great fun," Baker said.

Evan Falchuk, a businessman from Newton, and Scott Lively, a minister from Springfield, are also running as independents.

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