By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - Tagg Romney, the son of former presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, is the latest Republican to rule out running for an open Senate seat in Massachusetts, the Boston Herald newspaper reported on Monday.
While two prominent Democrats have started their campaigns ahead of the June 25 special election to fill the seat, the state's Republican Party has had a harder time finding a major candidate, which could give the party a chance to add to their 45 senators in the 100-seat chamber, where the Democrats hold the majority.
The seat was held for decades by John Kerry, who replaced Hillary Clinton as President Barack Obama's secretary of state.
"I have been humbled by the outreach I received this weekend encouraging me to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate," Romney said in a statement, according to the newspaper. "However, I am currently committed to my business and to spending as much time as I can with my wife and children. The timing is not right for me."
Romney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Former Senator Scott Brown, who polls had shown having a strong chance with Massachusetts voters, said on Friday he would not seek a return to Washington, having lost a re-election bid to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in November.
Also on Monday, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld said he would not enter the race.
"While I am grateful for the kind expressions of support and encouragement which I have received, I will not be a candidate for United States Senator from Massachusetts in the special election this year," Weld said in a statement released by Mintz Levin, the Boston law firm where he now works.
Democratic Representatives Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch have already launched their campaigns. They and any other Democrats to enter the race will face off in an April 30 primary.
Weld served as Massachusetts's governor from 1991 through 1997, when he resigned his post after President Bill Clinton nominated him as ambassador to Mexico, a post he was never confirmed in.
Weld's election in 1991 began a 16-year streak of Republican governors in Massachusetts, which ended in 2007 when Mitt Romney left office.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, on January 30 named his former chief of staff, William Cowan, to hold Kerry's U.S. Senate seat until a successor is picked.
Cowan told reporters he viewed the appointment as temporary and had no plans to run in the special election.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Additional reporting by Edith Honan in New York; Editing by Mohammad Zargham, Eric Walsh and Lisa Shumaker)