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    Ex-Meehan aide launches Third District bid

    Democratic congressional candidate Lori Trahan formalized her campaign Thursday, touting a $242,000 fund-raising haul in the last two weeks of September.

    Trahan, who was former congressman Marty Meehan’s chief of staff and now works as a business consultant, said the majority of her donations came from inside the district and from women.

    “This is going to be a competitive race, and I plan on being competitive, so I’m optimistic about my ability to raise money and my support going forward,” she said Thursday in a phone interview.

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    Her announcement adds to a growing field of candidates to succeed US Representative Niki Tsongas, who has said she will not run for reelection next year.

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    Democratic candidates actively running or considering a bid include former lieutenant governor nominee Stephen J. Kerrigan; Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s former chief of staff, Dan Koh; state Senator Barbara L’Italien; Lawrence state Representative Juana Matias; and Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem A. Mazen.

    Republican businessman and political activist Rick Green has also launched a campaign.

    Lowell state Senator Eileen Donoghue, a Democrat, announced this week that she would not run for the seat.

    Trahan’s fund-raising news puts her far behind Koh, who last week announced more than $800,000 in donations. But her announcement appeared designed to differentiate her intake by pointing out that the majority of the cash came from inside the district.

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    Koh’s campaign declined to offer details about his donations, saying that it would comply with federal disclosure requirements by the Oct. 15 deadline.

    Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JOSreports.