President Barack Obama has nominated Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) to become his secretary of state. Pending his almost certain confirmation, his promotion will trigger the second senate special election in the Bay State in just over three years.
Former Senator Scott Brown, who rose to an unexpected victory in the last special election, is still licking his wounds from his recent bitter defeat to Democratic Party favorite Elizabeth Warren. Although he hasn't declared candidacy, his name has quickly ascended to the top of contenders for this next round.
On the other side, many Democrats have been patiently waiting for the chance to jump into the fray. It should be noted that whoever wins would have to run again in 2014, when the seat's six-year term expires is up for a full term.
1. Representative Ed Markey
The dean of the Massachusetts House delegation, he has served since 1976. Markey has announced that he and hise his war chest of $3.1 million will make a run at the senate. Furthermore, Markey has already won the support of senate Democrats’ campaign arm, Kerry, and Vicki Kennedy — the widow of the late senator Ted Kennedy. Despite his seniority in the House, Markey as a freshman senator could help shape the national platform and wield even greater influence.
(Additional Note: If Brown runs, Democrats will want a fundraising goliath to run against him.)
2. Attorney General Martha Coakley
Coakley, who lost the 2010 special election to Brown, may give it another go due to her high approval ratings and name recognition. However, in a crowded primary field, voters are likely to heavily weigh the fact that she already lost once to Brown — if he decides to run. Notwithstanding her loss in 2010, many Democrats still see Coakley as one of their stronger political candidates. Furthermore, after Warren’s victory many progressives would be enthused by the idea of Massachusetts going from never having had a woman senator to having two.
3. Representative Joe Kennedy III
Indeed it would be difficult for Kennedy to launch a Senate campaign immediately after being elected the House in November, and he’d appear too ambitious and inexperienced. Nevertheless, such criticism did not stop Ted Kennedy, 30, from running for the Senate in 1962. Joe Kennedy will likely have millions left from this campaign, and he’d be seen as an immediate frontrunner whose name and money might deter other Democrats.
4. Representative Michael Capuano
Capuano is a seven-term congressman who ran in the special election two years ago and finished second in the Democratic primary to Coakley. When asked if he'd run in a special election, he told WCVB in Boston, "I will consider it.” Running in this special election is a low-risk venture for Capuano because if he loses, he would still be member of Congress and be able to run for reelection as a heavily-favored incumbent in 2014.
5. Governor Deval Patrick
There is speculation that Deval Patrick himself might desire the senate seat. The two-term governor has already said he will not seek a third term in 2014. Were he to seek the presidency, becoming a Senator would strengthen his own resume by adding legislative experience to his executive credentials. Patrick would also be a steady ally for President Obama in the senate, possibly a topic of conversation discussed when the two had dinner after the election. Despite this speculation, Patrick leaving office and allowing Lt. Gov. Tim Murray to assume the governorship could harm the party’s reputation, and destroy public trust. Patrick has also been rumored as a prospective cabinet pick for Obama and even a potential judicial nominee.