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(NECN: Brad Puffer, Boston, Mass.) - The race for the Massachusetts Senate seat is a little more crowded tonight. Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca has officially announced his campaign to succeed the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He made the announcement during a news conference this afternoon at the TD Garden in Boston. "Now on the tee, the next Senator from Massachusetts...." Hours before the official announcement, Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca stepped onto the first tee at Nashawtuc Country Club, raising money for the Shamrock Foundation. He wasn't talking politics yet - but coach Doc Rivers was already talking up the new candidate in the field. <a href="http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/2009/09/17/Pagliuca-pledges-to-live-up-to/1253219949.html" target="_blank">Click here to watch the full announcement.</a> "I think it's great....." Director of Celtics operations Danny Ainge says he is also excited Pagliuca will run for the US Senate. He says not only does he have experience in business, on the economy and health care, he says his work on this charity fundraiser and others is evidence of his dedication to public service.. Danny Ainge: "He's always bugging me to help support this charity, to give more. So Steve is a guy who has used his personal wealth and influence to help others. I think it's fantastic." Pagliuca must now introduce himself beyond the Celtics family and his business contacts. He must reach the entire state, convincing them he is a legitimate candidate with the right credentials. That will likely mean jump starting his campaign with an expensive media blitz, funded by his personal wealth. But at least here, Pagliuca already has a lot of support. Even celtics guard Ray Allen had to smile, thinking about the possibility Pagliuca could become a US Senator. "...he has the experience." Pagliuca may define himself is a progressive democrat. But that means he will face questions - about his support of Mitt Romney in 1994 when he challenged Ted Kennedy to the seat -- questions attorney general Martha Coakely and Congressman Michael Capuano will certainly bring up during a campaign.