Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2014

Massachusetts: Long Line for Special Senate Election

Massachusetts: Long Line for Special Senate Election

Brown, above, could run in the special election that will be held to succeed Kerry, who has been tapped by Obama to serve as secretary of State. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John Kerry’s nomination for secretary of State will open the flood gates of ambitious Bay State Democrats looking to succeed him.

In fact, the list of potential Democratic candidates grew in the week leading up to today’s White House confirmation that President Barack Obama would nominate the Foreign Relations Committee chairman and five-term senator to the post.

Three longtime Democratic members of the Massachusetts House delegation — Reps. Michael E. Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey — have expressed interest in the Senate seat. Markey has even polled the race, according to the Boston Globe. Earlier this week, Boston media outlets reported businessman Edward M. Kennedy Jr. — the son of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. — is also interested in running.

The winner of the Democratic nomination could face exiting Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., who lost re-election last month, in what many national operatives believe would be a competitive race. A Brown aide told Roll Call earlier this week that it’s too early to speculate on another run. Brown’s father died on Thursday, and the Republican was in Massachusetts on Friday and unavailable for comment.

And then there’s actor and director Ben Affleck.

Affleck did nothing to stop speculation about a potential bid during a trip to Capitol Hill this week to testify about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He told CBS’ Bob Scheiffer in a taped interview, “One never knows. I’m not one to get into conjecture.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick must schedule a special election 145 to 160 days following a Senate vacancy, which occurs following the confirmation process. That means the special primary would likely be scheduled sometime in April, with a general election in June. Patrick, a Democrat, is empowered to appoint someone to fill Kerry’s Senate seat until the winner of the special election takes office and is expected to do so.

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