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(NECN: Alison King) - Standing outside the Mass. Statehouse, State Representative Dan Winslow had an announcement about his plans for the Senate race.
"I'm about 99-percent there, but I need to make sure the Republicans of Massachusetts want me to take that step," he said.
Winslow says he will test the waters with an exploratory committee before he officially makes his decision about a run for the open U.S. Senate seat.
"I think the Senate has plenty of millionaires but I think we need more Senators who have mortgages to pay and who have walked in the shoes of the working men and women of Massachusetts who come from the middle class," Winslow said.
Winslow is a second term state representative from Norfolk who describes himself as a fiscally conservative, socially liberal Republican.
He is a former district court judge and was chief legal counsel in the Romney administration, and is a graduate of Tufts and Boston College Law School.
State Democrats will use Winslow's connection to Romney as a point of attack. In fact, they have already issued a statement saying that Winslow was part of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's inner circle and one of his apologists who would stop the Obama agenda in the Senate.
"I'm very proud of the fact that I was part of the team that helped turn Massachusetts around for the first two years of the Romney administration. I'm very proud of my friendship with Mitt Romney but I'm Dan Winslow and I'm not Mitt Romney," Winslow said.
The Republican party has been scrambling to find a candidate ever since Scott Brown announced Friday he would not run.
Most of the high profile Republicans in the Bay State have said no.
Doug Bennett of Dorchester is currently the only announced Republican, though his candidacy may be short lived based on Winslow's announcement.
"If he does decide to run, what I will do is support Dan and actually serve him as right hand man... and help him win the Senate," Bennett said.
Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy Seal from Cohasset, is seriously considering a bid, and is reportedly in Washington, D.C. meeting with the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
But if Gomez tries to run as a true blue Republican, he may have to explain a few things to the party faithful. Including why he supported Obama in 2008 and why he's donated to Democrats, including Alan Khazei in the 2009 Massachusetts Senate Race.
As for collecting the 10,000 necessary signatures, Winslow, for one, says with volunteers and paid professionals, he can do it by the Feb. 28 deadline.