Steve Woods considering 2014 gubernatorial bid

Steve Woods, one of four independent candidates in Maine’s recently concluded U.S. Senate race, said Thursday he’s forming an exploratory committee as a first step toward a possible run for governor in 2014.

He’s also switched his voter registration from unenrolled to Democrat.

“Consistent with my recent core campaign message, I passionately believe that our great democracy demands participation from each and every one of us in any number of forms,” Woods writes in a Bangor Daily News op ed. “For me, I believe in the profound honor of public service. It is my hope that in the coming months I will continue to hear and see support and encouragement from so many Mainers.”

As for his switch to the Democratic Party, Woods said his beliefs “were and are consistent with Democratic Party dogma, despite my ‘unenrolled’ status.” He ran for the Senate as an unenrolled candidate, however, because he wanted to avoid the partisan fray.

“After six months of campaigning, I learned that the partisan fray is unavoidable, as it is not exclusive to any political party or institution, but instead is exacerbated by many politicians themselves,” he wrote, applauding Sen.-elect Angus King for joining the Senate’s Democratic caucus.

Woods is the chairman of the Yarmouth Town Council, and he owns a collective of six marketing businesses in Falmouth, called TideSmart Global. The second of the six Senate candidates to qualify for the ballot last spring, Woods remained in the race until the last weekend, when he announced at the final debate he was dropping out and endorsing King.

His name remained on the ballot, and unofficial results show he attracted more than 10,000 votes, or 1.5 percent of the tally.