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
International

Many deaths as boat with African emigrants sinks…

BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast…

Local

State health department warns against rare respiratory virus…

The New York State Department of Health is calling upon parents to be aware of the symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68. More than 12 children across the…

National

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in…

Money

Second Shift: Turning fun into money

In this week's Second Shift series, meet a New Yorker who has established two successful careers around having fun.

Movies

Dan Stevens kisses Cousin Matthew goodbye

Dan Stevens wanted a change and he certainly got one. After quickly developing a devoted fan base as Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," the 32-year-old…

Movies

Nerd alert: Genesis Rodriguez, robot-maker

Geeks of the world, you're about to fall in love with Genesis Rodriguez. There's no point in resisting. The actress, appearing in Kevin Smith's totally…

The Word

The Word: Kanye West wants everyone on their…

Maybe we can blame this one on the migraine, too. Kanye West is drawing ire for halting a performance in Sydney when his demands that…

Movies

That's a wrap on TIFF 2014

This year's Toronto International Film Festival closes without the satisfying sense of certainty that had become a mainstay in recent years. Last year, for example,…

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Home

DIY design: Try this upcycle furniture project

Tiffany Threadgould is living a DIY life. The Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle, an international waste management company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, grew up…

Parenting

The downside of a BFF

For teenage girls a best friend can mean everything, but the way they deal with their problems together can lead to depression

Education

How many colleges should I apply to? Your…

To the average high school senior, creating the perfect college application can seem like a golden ticket into their future. Students and their parents spend…

Career

How Generation Z will change the way Americans…

What to learn how to establish a career in this new economy? Look no further than the current generation of young people - that is,…