There's also plenty of talk about who might run for treasurer. Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy would almost certainly make his third stab. Bump might run for either treasurer or attorney general.

And the fight for Capuano's seat in Congress could be a multi-candidate free-for-all, potentially involving Curtatone, State Representative Linda Dorcena Forry, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, and Boston city councilors Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo, for starters.

There's also that intriguing possibility, mentioned above, of a special election for Kerry's Senate seat. All of this offers ambitious pols plenty to aim for, short of risking it all on a long-shot run for governor.

After all, an unknown first-time candidate for governor really would be a long shot, no matter how easy Patrick made it look eight years ago.

To read the Talking Politics blog, go to David S. Bernstein can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @dbernstein.

CORRECTION A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Scott Lang is former mayor of Fall River; he is actually the former mayor of New Bedford.

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