Governor Patrick Picks Interim Senator to fill John Kerry’s U.S. Senate Seat

Daniel Doherty

1/30/2013 11:31:00 AM - Daniel Doherty

Barney Frank must be inconsolable. On Wednesday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick chose William “Mo” Cowan -- his former chief of staff -- to replace John Kerry in the United States Senate until a special election can be held early next summer:

Cowan, Patrick’s former chief of staff, will serve until a special election is held to fill Sen. Kerry’s seat. Patrick will officially announce the appointment at an 11 a.m. news conference.

Kerry was confirmed on Tuesday to be the nation’s next secretary of state. His resignation after nearly three decades in the Senate becomes official on Friday.

The interim senator will serve until a June 25 special election.

Republican officials close to Scott Brown said Tuesday that the former senator is “leaning strongly” toward running.

U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch are expected to seek the Democratic nomination.

As noted above, the Boston Herald reported Tuesday that Republican Scott Brown is eyeing yet another Senate run, and is expected to make his official announcement sometime next week. Meanwhile, a recent poll shows Mr. Brown crushing his Democratic rivals by double digits. The seat, it seems, is his for the taking -- at least for the moment. But if he does run and win -- an outcome that is by no means certain -- he’ll have to run again for re-election in 2014 when Senator Kerry’s term expires. Perhaps this is one reason why running for governor in 2014 might make more sense politically -- after all, does Scott Brown really have the energy to run for a U.S. Senate seat four times in just four years? I guess we’ll find out next week.

UPDATE: This race is going to be a lot closer than previously expected, at least according to a new poll released Wednesday:

Scott Brown would enter the Massachusetts Senate special election with only a slight lead over the Democratic establishment’s candidate, Rep. Ed Markey, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

But first Markey will need to get past a primary challenge, as Rep. Stephen F. Lynch is poised to formally announce his candidacy on Thursday for the Democratic nomination.

The automated poll shows Brown leading Markey by three points, 48 percent to 45 percent, in a head-to-head contest. Driven in part by name recognition, Markey starts out with a 52 percent to 19 percent lead over Lynch.