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BOSTON (AP) — Independent gubernatorial hopeful Evan Falchuk became the first candidate for Massachusetts' top office to officially qualify for the November ballot, his campaign said Monday.
Falchuk and his running mate, Angus Jennings, submitted more than the required 10,000 certified signatures to the secretary of state to earn a spot on the ballot, beating by more than a month the July 29 deadline for candidates not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties.
The campaign also announced it had launched its first television ad on network affiliates in Boston and Springfield.
A Newton resident and former health care executive, Falchuk, 44, is running under the banner of the newly formed United Independent Party. The party would gain recognition in Massachusetts if Falchuk wins at least 3 percent of the November vote.
The party's goal is to lure disaffected voters unhappy with the current Republican and Democratic choices for governor, Falchuk said. More than half of registered Massachusetts voters are not affiliated with either major party.
Falchuk's campaign planks include stopping major hospital consolidations, pushing for more affordable housing and renewable energy sources, and replacing the state's flat 5.2 percent income tax with a graduated rate. While such positions are more likely to appeal to liberal voters, he insists his pragmatic approach to government defies traditional political labels.
"I've heard people say I sound like a Republican. I just had someone tell me I sound like a libertarian," Falchuk said. "People don't fit into these boxes. People's views on issues are more sophisticated than the sound bites we've gotten used to from the party establishment."
A former executive of Best Doctors Inc., a Boston-based global health company, Falchuk has already contributed $560,000 of his own money to the campaign, including a $250,000 donation on June 16, according to filings with the state office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Jeff McCormick, a venture capitalist from Boston and Scott Lively, a Springfield minister, also hope to make the ballot as independents.
Attorney General Martha Coakley, state Treasurer Steven Grossman and former Medicare administrator Don Berwick will compete in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary. Charlie Baker, the former head of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Mark Fisher, a tea party member, will vie in the Republican primary that day.
In other campaign developments, Grossman called on Coakley on Monday to disclose more details and seek public input on a deal she helped broker that would allow health care giant Partners to acquire South Shore Hospital and two community hospitals. Grossman, in a letter, accused Coakley of negotiating in secrecy.
Brad Puffer, a Coakley spokesman, said the attorney general was committed to releasing full details of the agreement once it was finalized.
Baker, the 2010 GOP nominee for governor, released a plan for reducing the cost of higher education that included proposals for more online programs and offering three-year degrees at state universities.
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