America, you'll officially have a new Secretary of State within 24 hours. Who the heck is going to be your next Senator from Massachusetts — and the next one after that — remains as confusing as can be. Let's catch up on how the end of the Hillary era at Foggy Bottom might unfold, and fast.
After sailing through his confirmation-hearing lovefest last week and a committee vote Tuesday morning, John Kerry was confirmed late Tuesday afternoon by an overwhelming full Senate vote of 94-3. He'll be sworn in on Wednesday to officially replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spent last week defending her department's handling of the September attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and who will step aside — apparently to write a book.
Altogether, the transition in Washington should be smooth: Kerry, the current head of the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations, has been swinging by the State Department's offices in Foggy Bottom since Obama issued his nomination, and is already planning trips to the Middle East, where he'll visit with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
But isn't there a Senate seat to fill here? Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick plans to announce Kerry's Senate interim replacement on Friday, though it's still unclear who the frontrunner for that position is. And while we can assume it will be a Democrat, things are getting increasingly messy. Former Representative Barney Frank, who retired from the House at the beginning of January, said earlier this month that he very much wants the temporary appointment. But according to the Boston Globe, that's unlikely. Patrick has recently signaled his desire to install "a woman or a person of color" instead, and is eyeing his former chief of staff, William Cowan, and Ted Kennedy's widow, Victoria, as potential five-month Senators.