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Senate candidates scramble to obtain 10,000 signatures

Massachusetts Democrats and Republicans are gathering last-minute signatures needed to be on the ballot for the special election to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s former senate seat. Candidates must collect and submit all their signatures by Wednesday.

“It’s still too early to know who will be on the ballot,” said Brian McNiff, spokesman for Mass. Secretary of State William Galvin. “The deadline coming up Wednesday at 5 p.m. is for the campaigns to submit their signature forms with 10,000 signatures to the local and city town registrar of voters for certification and to make sure these people are eligible voters in the community.”

Gabriel Gomez, Republican Navy SEAL, announced on his official Twitter account Tuesday that he had more than 25,000 voters sign his petition to be included on the ballot.

Republican Mass. Rep. Daniel Winslow announced Sunday that his campaign collected about 25,000 signatures.

“I am honored and encouraged that nearly 25,000 people from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have helped me take the first step in my campaign for the United States Senate,” he said in a statement Sunday.

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said in a statement Wednesday that he would run in the special election as long he receives the required number of signatures.

Sullivan announced his candidacy Thursday, which gave him less than a week to collect the required 10,000 signatures.

“It would’ve been easy for me to say why don’t I just raise some money and pay some people to get me on the ballot and worry about a field organization,” Sullivan said in the statement Thursday. “I don’t mind taking on challenges.”

Tim Buckley, communications director for the Massachusetts Republican Party, said whoever wins the primary for the Republicans will be ready to take on the Democratic candidate.

“The Mass. GOP is confident that there will a spirited primary, and whichever candidate receives the nomination will be a breath of fresh air compared to lifelong politicians Ed Markey and Steve Lynch, who have overseen record dysfunction on Capitol Hill,” he said.

On the Democratic side, campaign officials said they have been diligently working to get the required amount of signatures.

Conor Yunits, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch’s campaign, said Lynch has collected enough signatures to be on the ballot.

“Our collection efforts have been tremendous thanks to our volunteers,” Yunits said. “We’ll be on the ballot.”

Giselle Barry, spokeswoman for U.S. Rep Ed Markey’s campaign, said they feel confident moving forward in the race and have collected thousands of signatures.

“We’ve had energized volunteers holding hundreds of events to gather signatures throughout the state,” she said. “They have exceeded all goals. We’ve been collecting signature papers everyday and we continue to and will continue to until the deadline.”

Samantha Hooper, press secretary of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said the Democrats have a great pool of candidates.

“There are a lot of signature drives across the state,” she said. “We are waiting to see when the candidates hand in their signatures and we are excited to help them out.”

McNiff said once the registrar of voters completes the certification of signatures, candidates or their campaigns have to pick up the certified nomination sheets and bring them to Galvin’s office before March 6 to count the number of signatures.

“Once that’s done, then those people are on the ballot,” he said. “There is always a provision for challenging signatures, but if they [the campaigns] come in with more than 10,000 signatures, they will be on the ballot.”

The primary will be held Apr. 30 with the special election to follow June 25.

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