Maura Healey
CNN  — 

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced a run for governor on Thursday, a decision that comes weeks after popular Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said he would not seek reelection.

Healey made the announcement on Twitter and in a video that leaned into what the state needs to do to build back from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Massachusetts, I know the years of the pandemic have been really hard, but I see a state that is coming together with courage, grit and caring to great things,” Healey says, before detailing her upbringing and her work as attorney general.

“I have stood for you as the people’s lawyer and now I am running to be your governor, to bring us together and come back stronger than ever,” Healey adds.

Baker’s decision not to seek a third term as governor shook up the race to lead Massachusetts. The unexpected move caused Democrats to take a fresh look at the contest, given Baker is widely seen as a political force in the state and any race against him would have been markedly harder than an open contest.

After Baker’s decision in December, a source familiar with the attorney general’s thought process told CNN that Healey, who has served as attorney general since 2015, was thinking about running against Baker before he declined to run, but that his decision “makes the path clearer.”

Another top Democrat thought to be a possible contender for the job, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer later Thursday that he will not run for governor in the state.

“It was an honor to be mentioned as a governor. I love Massachusetts. I love my city of Boston, but I’m serving the people of the United States of America right now,” the former mayor of Boston said.

Walsh had began considering a bid after Baker declined to seek a third term, a source familiar with the considerations told CNN in December, but Democrats in Massachusetts had been skeptical that Walsh and Healey would choose to face off in what could be a contentious primary.

Some Democrats had already announced gubernatorial bids before Baker’s decision and Healey’s entrance, including Harvard professor Danielle Allen and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz. But Healey enters the race as the clear frontrunner given her statewide name recognition and millions in the bank to run her race.

Former President Donald Trump has loomed large in this race. After Baker spoke out against the former President on multiple occasions, the Republican leader turned on the Republican governor and endorsed former state Rep. Geoff Diehl’s bid to challenge Baker from the right.

This story has been updated with comments from Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.