Senator Dan Wolf ends bid for governor, hopes to remain in Senate

Sen. Dan Wolf, at a meeting with Island constituents in April. — File photo by Steve Myrick

Expecting it could take months for the State Ethics Commission to decide on a possible regulatory change that would allow him to continue his political career, Cape and islands Sen. Daniel Wolf on Monday night officially dropped out the 2014 race for governor.

Mr. Wolf, whose senate district includes Martha’s Vineyard, said the excitement with which he got into the governor’s race this summer has not waned, but called it “not feasible” to consider restarting a gubernatorial campaign months from now while other candidates are already building their organizations, fundraising and talking with voters about their plans for Massachusetts, the State House News Service reported.

Mr. Wolf, a second-term senator from Harwich, faced an already uphill climb to introduce and distinguish himself to voters in a six-person Democratic field that includes Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steven Grossman, both of whom have already run statewide.

Mr. Wolf suspended his campaign in August after ethics law regulators found him in violation of conflict of interest laws due to the nature of the contracts his airline Cape Air holds with Massport, a quasi-public state agency.

The Ethics Commission told Mr. Wolf he would either have to resign from the state Senate and give up his campaign for governor, give up the company he founded 25 years ago, or forfeit Cape Air’s rights to fly through Logan Airport. Mr. Wolf petitioned the commission to craft a regulatory exemption that might allow individuals with non-negotiable contracts available to all applicants to serve in public office.

The Ethics Commission in September agreed to begin the regulatory process to consider a change that would allow Mr. Wolf to remain in the Senate and possibly run for governor, but Mr. Wolf said after the last week’s meeting it became clear that a resolution would take time.

“It is now clear that no resolution, regardless of its form, will be reached for at least several more months, quite possibly longer,” Mr. Wolf said in a statement released Monday night. “Given that timing, I feel I have no option but to end my campaign for Governor.”

Mr. Wolf continued, “I do so with deep regret, but also with every hope that I will remain as State Senator from the Cape and Islands, continuing to advocate for our environment, social justice, public education, jobs that provide living wages, and economic opportunity.”