On Wednesday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick selected his former chief-of-staff to serve as interim senator after the confirmation of John Kerry (D) as U.S. secretary of state the previous day by the U.S. Senate. It had been reported that Patrick was going to select a woman or person of color to serve until a special election is held in June to fill the seat. It had been speculated that Patrick might choose Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
Cowan, an African-American, served as Patrick's chief-of-staff from January 2011 to November 2012 when he left the administration. Cowan is a graduate of Harvard Business School, Northeastern University Law School, and Duke University.
Cowan, 43 will join South Carolina Republican Tim Scott as one of two African-Americans currently in the U.S. Senate. Cowan will be the second African-American senator to serve from Massachusetts, after Republican Edward Brooke represented the state from 1967 to 1979.
A special election will be held on June 25 to determine who will serve the remainder of Kerry's six-year term, which ends in January of 2015. Congressman Ed Markey (D) has already declared his candidacy, and is a strong favorite in the Democratic primary. Meanwhile, it is widely believed that former Senator Scott Brown (R), who was ousted by Elizabeth Warren (D) in November's election, will run for the Republicans. If he does, he would be a virtual lock for the party's nomination.
The senate primaries for both parties will be held on April 30.