Former Patrick Budget Chief Gonzalez Weighing Run for Governor

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STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JAN. 4, 2017….Former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez has left his position as chief executive of the health insurer CeltiCare to explore a bid for governor in 2018, opening the door for someone from the Patrick-era of Democratic politics on Beacon Hill to challeng the popular Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

Gonzalez, who served in Gov. Deval Patrick’s Cabinet as secretary of administration and finance for more than three years, is “seriously considering” running for governor as a Democrat in two years, one person close to him told the News Service.

Another associate said Gonzalez is “very much in the exploring stage,” but suggested he could appeal to the progressive coalition that twice elected Patrick, while also bringing private sector experience to the campaign.

“On December 31st I officially stepped down from my role as CEO and President of CeltiCare Health and New Hampshire Healthy Families to explore other professional opportunities. I’ve always been committed to public service and will spend the next few weeks with my family and friends to determine how best to continue to do that,” Gonzalez said in a statement to the News Service.

Gonzalez was not available for an interview. His possible interest in running for governor was first reported Wednesday by the Boston Globe.

Former Patrick advisor and campaign manager Sydney Asbury is working with Gonzalez as he considers a possible campaign.

Gonzalez developed and managed three state budgets under Patrick before leaving the administration in early 2013 to take over CeltiCare. Should he wind up the Democratic challenger to Baker, it would make for an interesting match-up of two men who held the same Cabinet secretary job in state government before going on to run a health plan.

Before entering state government, the Dartmouth College and Georgetown University Law graduate was a partner at the law firm of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge where he specialized in public finance.

Gonzalez joins Newton Mayor Setti Warren as the first two Democrats publicly making moves to run for governor in 2018. Warren, who will not seek re-election as mayor this year, is working with another former Patrick campaign manager and former Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh.

— Written by Matt Murphy