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slides: Which Candidate Has the Best Shot at Kerry’s Seat?

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Massachusetts voters will likely face another special election this year after John Kerry received President Obama's nomination for Secretary of State. Experts discuss which candidate has the best chance to take the seat.

Ed Markey

Congressman Edward Markey of Malden is the Dean of both the Massachusetts and New England House delegations. Markey is quickly shaping up to be the top Democrat in the running, and Darrell West of the Brookings Institute says he will run to the finish line.

“It will be a competitive race between Scott Brown and Ed Markey. Each are well-known in Massachusetts and has a strong following in their respective parties,” he said.

Associate Professor of Political Science at Clark University, Srinivasan Sitaraman said, “Early signs suggest that Congressman Ed Markey is already getting some endorsements from outgoing Senator John Kerry and from Vicki Kennedy. But it is a little too early to predict how the race will play out with some aspirants in the mix.”

Michael Capuano

Representative Michael Capuano is another Democrat from the Baystate’s 7th Congressional District that has been pegged as a major contender for Kerry’s soon-to-be-open seat.

Governor Deval Patrick has stated that a Democratic primary before the special election would help to connect the party behind one solid candidate, and West agrees.

“Democrats need to reunify around a single candidate in order to avoid handing this seat to Republicans,” he said.

Scott Brown

After losing the 2012 senate race to Elizabeth Warren, former Republican senator Scott Brown said, “Defeat is only temporary,” hinting at his intentions to continue his political career.

“It is widely believed that the Republican Senator Scott Brown who lost his seat to Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren will run for Senate again to fill the seat vacated by Senator Kerry,” said Sitaraman. “Democrats worry that if Scott Brown does indeed run again they will lose the sliver of control they have in the Senate."

Sitaraman also pointed out that Massachusetts Democrats “have every reason to be worried” due to WBUR’s latest poll.

“Senator Brown has also been mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate,” he said. “So he has to weigh his future political ambitions rather than jumping into the race again. Surely the Republicans would love to upset the balance in the Senate by grabbing one more seat.”

West added that Brown's resurgence after his loss was significant, and a sign for the future: “It is impressive how quickly Brown has regained strong positive ratings since his election loss to Warren. His best shot is a special election with low turnout, which plays to his Republican base.

“Brown and Warren should be able to put their differences aside and work to advance state interests. It is in neither of their interests to have a public feud based on their past electoral contest,” West said.

Still, Sitaraman says there is some risk for Brown if he chooses to run again.

“Say he runs and loses by a small margin to the Democratic opponent; he would run the risk of developing some negative energy around his future political prospects.”

Stephen Lynch

Congressman Stephen Lynch has said he’s “giving serious consideration” to a Senate run, but he knows it would be an uphill battle against his opponent and other Democrats in the potential primary.

Reports are surfacing that Lynch will be announcing soon whether or not he will officially be taking the plunge.

Keith Ablow

Psychiatrist and author, Dr. Kieth Ablow might not seem like your usual candidate, but the Newbury doctor says he is considering running if neither William Weld nor Scott Brown step up for the position.

In an interview with Fox News, Ablow said his children pushed him to his decision because the future is uncertain.

Ablow also said that the Newtown, Ct. shooting was a part of his decision to consider running, saying that he wishes the teachers had been armed.

“These guns aren’t the problem,” he said. “I’m a doctor and I like to go with a fact.”

He added that disarming people doesn’t help since assault weapons are used in a minority of shootings.

“We need people to come forward now to serve,” he said. “I think the party needs to unite behind one philosophy. We need to know soon who that person will be.”

William Weld

Former Bay State governor and one-time Kerry opponent Bill Weld, is another potential Republican to go for the seat.

While Brown has a loyal following in Massachusetts, the Republican party is arguably in need of a push, and Weld still holds favor in the Commonwealth as well.

Weld has not denied his intention of running, leaving many to wonder about his future in politics.

Victoria Kennedy

Before a special election is held in the spring, Governor Patrick will need to appoint an interim senator to act for four to five months. This leaves a rare chance for some other faces to enter the mix, including Victoria Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.

While Kennedy has thrown her support behind Ed Markey for the eventual special election, she still has not said whether she would decline appointment as the interim senator.

Some Democrats are hoping Kennedy would run for the position, but they will have to wait to see whether she takes a shot at the seat, if only for a few months.

Barney Frank

Democrat Barney Frank, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives until January 3, 2013, has stirred up political commentators with his very public pitch for the interim senator job.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), a group which also threw support behind now-Senator Elizabeth Warren, has started an online petition for Frank, saying, “As Elizabeth Warren opposes any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, we can't afford to have our other senator be lukewarm, undecided, or uncertain. We need someone who we are 100% confident will fight right alongside her. Barney Frank is that person. Please appoint him as our interim senator.”

As of January 11, the online petition had nearly 30,000 signatures at AppointBarneyFrank.com, according to the PCCC.


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