Happening Today

10:30 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets to hear on-site casino updates.

11 a.m. | House holds an informal session and Senate meets without a calendar. 

2 p.m. | Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell launch of a partnership aimed at reframing discussions of gun violence in Boston.

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2 p.m. | Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce holds virtual government affairs forum with U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal.

6:30 p.m. | Candidate for governor Geoff Diehl holds fundraiser. The hosts are Mitchell and Susan Bistany, Mike and Anna Dejulio, Ed and Susan Logue, and Fred and Kristy Smerlas.

Today’s Stories

Everyone wants to run for governor now that Baker and Polito are out of the race

The big news yesterday was who decided not to run for governor in 2022, but the focus today, the remaining year, and much of the next will be on who decides to throw their hat into the ring.

The obvious question after Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced their intention to step out of the running for a third term in office is whether Attorney General Maura Healey will wade into the fray.

But before we get to the attorney general, let’s stick with Polito for a second. That news was surprising on its face as it had long been rumored that the second in command would take on the mantle of the pair’s centrist brand of conservatism. But it was not to be.

Back to who is or may be running. One prevailing theme during Wednesday — everybody and their mother were rumored to be taking a “close look” at a run for governor once the heavy weight confirmed he was stepping out of the ring.

Healey, appearing on Bloomberg TV earlier in the day, said she would save her announcement “for another day,” reports MassLive’s Melissa Hanson.

So we’ll wait for another day for the attorney general to make up her mind. But that didn’t stop the rumor mills from doing what they do best — swirl and chug along. Among the names that started to float around on Wednesday:

– Boston Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports that Taunton Mayor Shuanna O’Connell is “seriously considering” a run. O’Connell previously served as a state representative.

– Boston Globe’s Matt Stout and Emma Platoff report that Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George is taking a “close look at” running for governor. She’s fresh off a loss to Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

– State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reports that Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy’s name started to make its way through political circles as a potential Republican nominee.

– Norfolk County Treasurer and former Norfolk Sheriff Michael Bellotti is said to be looking at joining the field for governor, a source tells MassterList.

– A team of four journalists at Politico reports that U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is considering a run for governor now that Baker and Polito are out of the mix. Walsh’s chief of staff, Daniel Koh, is also weighing his chances in a run for lieutenant governor.

Of course, CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas reminds us of the four candidates who are already in the race: Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, former Sen. Ben Downing, Harvard Professor Danielle Allen, and former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who is now the only confirmed Republican candidate.

Oh, and if you were wondering if Baker plans to run for president, he put that to bed pretty quickly. “Yeah,” he said when asked if he was ruling out a run for the country’s top office, reports MassLive’s Melissa Hanson.

Mr. President: Flynn says he has the support to become Boston City Council president

He’s calling it. Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn says he has wrangled all the votes he needs to become president of the council when it reorganizes, placing the son of former Mayor Ray Flynn next in the line of succession. Sean Phillip Cotter of the Herald and the Globe’s Danny McDonald have the details.

Boston appeals ruling striking down eviction moratorium

It’s official. After teasing the move on Tuesday, Boston officials appealed a ruling striking down the city’s eviction moratorium. Boston Globe’s Danny McDonald reports that the city argues allowing evictions during the pandemic “would be disastrous.”

More from McDonald: “The decision to overturn the eviction moratorium came in response to a lawsuit filed by a Boston landlord and a constable. Judge Irene Bagdoian said the city had overstepped its public health emergency powers when the Janey administration in late August announced a blanket ban on enforcing evictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

Boston Globe

Naming names: Kerry calls out countries dragging feet on climate change

They’re on notice. China, Russia and Brazil are among the countries that Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry says need to “step up” and do more to address the threat of climate change, Mychael Schnell of The Hill reports. Kerry also said the U.S. stands ready to help poorer countries get on the right path as well.

The Hill

Long shot: Lynn council candidate files for recount

She lost by 56 votes — a margin unlikely to change — but losing Lynn City Council candidate Natasha Megie-Maddrey says she wants a recount of the Nov. 2 election results in part because of difficulties her niece had in trying to vote in the city for the first time, Allysha Dunnigan of The Item reports. A hand recount is slated for next Tuesday.

Lynn Item

COVID-19 Remembrance Day push makes its way to Beacon Hill

A movement to create a COVID-19 Remembrance Day has made its way to Massachusetts. GBH News’ Sarah Betancourt reports that residents who lost family members to the virus are joining up with national nonprofit Marked by Covid to push for a bill on Beacon Hill that would establish the day on the first Monday of March.

GBH News

Ratified: Tenet Healthcare settles with Natick nurses as Worcester strike continues

Tenet Healthcare has announced it struck a deal for a new contract with nurses at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, the third labor deal inked by the company since the ongoing nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester began nearly nine months ago, Abby Patkin of the Telegram reports.

Telegram & Gazette

Firing back: Teacher let go over social media videos sues with help from Judicial Watch

A national conservative group is backing a lawsuit filed by a teacher fired from her job after videos she posted on Tik Tok questioning critical race theory surfaced, Rick Sobey of the Herald reports. In a lawsuit filed with the help of Judicial Watch, Kari MacRae claims her First Amendment rights were violated; the district says she was let go during her 90-day probationary period, when teachers can be dismissed for any reason.

Boston Herald

UMass Amherst to require boosters for students

Better get your booster if you’re a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. MassLive’s Will Katcher reports that the university announced the requirement on Wednesday, saying the decision would help protect the public health of the campus. Students can still seek a medical or religious exemption.

MassLive

Framingham State announces three finalists for university president

Months after Framingham State University President Javier Cevallos announced he would step down from the post, the institution announced three finalists to succeed him. Boston Business Journal’s Grant Welker reports that the three are Allia Carter, EVP and COO of Virginia Union University; Roxanne Gonzales-Walker, provost and VP of Academic Affairs at New Mexico Highlands University; and Nancy Niemi, provost and VP for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Boston Business Journal

Man gets life in prison for stabbing local barber

A man was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to fatally stabbing a local barber in Pittsfield in October 2018. Berkshire Eagle’s Amanda Burke reports that 23-year-old Jason Sefton pleaded guilty to murdering William Catalano during a Berkshire Superior Court hearing on Wednesday.

Berkshire Eagle

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Harvard poll: 52% of young Americans think democracy is ‘in trouble’ or ‘failing’ – Boston Herald

Boston City Council approves $8 million to make three MBTA bus lines fare-free starting next year – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Returning to UMass football a ‘full circle’ moment for new coach Don Brown – Daily Hampshire Gazette

A former and current department head will oversee Pittsfield’s nearly $41 million in ARPA money – Berkshire Eagle

Nation

Supreme Court Seems Poised to Uphold Mississippi’s Abortion Law – New York Times

MLB lockout begins as CBA expires with owners and players still at odds – Washington Post

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