Obama’s choice of John Kerry to trigger special Massachusetts Senate race

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) announces the nomination of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) as Secretary of State to succeed Hillary Clinton, at the White House.

President Barack Obama’s move on Friday to nominate Democratic U.S. Senator John Kerry as his secretary of state sets the stage for Massachusetts’ second special Senate election in three years.

The race could pit a veteran Democratic Massachusetts congressmen or the state’s top federal prosecutor against Senator Scott Brown, a Republican who came to office in a 2010 special election but who last month lost a re-election bid to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

The campaign promises to be a more spirited one than the state’s last special election, called to fill the vacancy created by the August 2009 death of Senator Edward Kennedy. With heavy support from the national Republican Party, Brown won the seat long held by the Democratic leader, handily beating state Attorney General Martha Coakley, who was criticized as running a lackluster campaign.

Brown has hinted he could consider another run, saying in his farewell speech on the Senate floor, “We may obviously meet again.”

Possible Democratic contenders include congressmen Edward Markey and Michael Capuano, as well as U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz, observers and local media said.

A Democratic contender for the seat Kerry has held since 1985 could get a big boost from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who has authority to appoint an interim senator to serve from the time Kerry steps down to the special election about five months later.

That authority stems from a 2009 law passed in the wake of Kennedy’s death. At that time Patrick appointed Paul Kirk, a longtime Kennedy friend who said he would not run for the seat. But the governor does not have to nominate someone who does not intend to run for the seat.

“The real question is, does the governor appoint somebody who would be a coat-holder or someone who is going to run in the special election,” said Jeffrey Berry, a professor of political science at Tufts University. “That’s a crucial decision that the governor would make because if he appoints someone who is going to run, then that person gets a tremendous advantage a few months later in the election.”

Massachusetts law requires the special election to come on a Tuesday 145 to 160 days after Kerry submits his letter of resignation, with party primaries held four weeks before that.

The outcome of the race would not tip the balance of power in the Senate where Democrats currently enjoy a 55-45 majority.

But the departure of Kerry, 69, from a seat he had held for about 28 years will leave Massachusetts with two of the most junior members in the Senate.

Markey, 66, has held his seat in the House of Representatives since 1976 and is the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, while Capuano, 60, has served in the House since 1999.

Ortiz, 56, was named U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts in November 2009 and has overseen cases including the ongoing prosecution of accused Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

Ortiz “has no plans to run for U.S. Senate,” a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Representatives of the other possible candidates did not return calls seeking comment on Friday.

The winner of the special election would serve until the end of Kerry’s current term, which extends into January 2015.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.