Massachusetts politics have been mercurial of late: John Kerry is preparing to abandon the Senate seat he's held for nearly twenty years, after President Obama nominated him for Secretary of State; Elizabeth Warren was just confirmed as a Senator, following a famously brutal 2012 campaign; and (former) Senator Scott Brown, who ran against Warren, is no more. Or is he? That's the question right now: Who is positioned to take Kerry's Senate seat? And who will take it in the short term? Here's a quick guide to the mysterious, possibly perilous future of Kerry's soon-to-be-old post.
Kerry's temporary replacement:
Assuming Kerry flies through his confirmation hearings, he'll have to resign his Senate seat to take Hillary Clinton's job. There will be a special election to fill Kerry's seat in late spring, but between then and now someone needs to fill Kerry's shoes on an interim basis. And nobody has said publicly who that will be — yet. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who is tasked with choosing Kerry's temporary replacement, has said he won't announce anyone until Kerry formally relinquishes his senatorship. We can assume it will be a Democrat, of course, and Patrick has dropped a few hints: for example, he won't pick anyone who plans to run in the special election. That doesn't mean he isn't pondering the decision, though. Via the Springfield Republican:
Patrick has declined comment on any possible appointees including Victoria R. Kennedy, who was married to the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
"I have a mental list," Patrick said of potential appointees. "I have had a number of conversations and there's some pretty compelling candidates. Remember it is a four or five month assignment."
Indeed, Patrick would prefer is he didn't have to deal with a special election — he's indicated that, if given the opportunity, he would sign a bill allowing him to appoint someone to fulfill the entire remainder of Kerry's term.