With the 113th Congress officially open (or closed depending on your cynicism) for business, we are getting close to the nomination of current Massachusetts senior Senator John Kerry for the Secretary of State position.
But the eventual vacancy of Kerry’s Senate seat will leave the Massachusetts delegation with one Senator. Massachusetts law dictates that the Governor (Deval Patrick) can appoint an interim Senator before a special election takes place three months later. The temporary appointment CAN run in the special election but Patrick favors having an appointment who will retire after their term is up.
As some of you may remember in 2009, following the death of longtime Senator Ted Kennedy, Patrick appointed longtime Kennedy aide Paul Kirk to be the interim Senator. Patrick’s preference for a temporary placeholder isn’t a huge deal because he believes that it would be hard to simultaneously hold a seat while campaign for it at the same time.
However, when it comes to being a placeholder; few names have come up. Most of the speculation has centered around former Massachusetts Governor (and 1988 Democratic Presidential nominee) Michael Dukakis or Ted Kennedy’s widow Vicki to fill the seat though both have appeared to be uninterested in the position.
Enter now retired (as of yesterday) Rep. Barney Frank. Frank, one of the more productive legislators in the House, had previously been uninterested in the position but today he formally expressed interest in serving in the Senate seat.
It should come as no surprise though that Frank has interest given his interest in economic issues and with the likely standoff over the debt ceiling approaching, he would be a valuable voice in the Senate.
Frank, who married his longtime partner James Ready last July in a ceremony officiated by Deval Patrick, would also be the second openly gay Senator in history (the first being Tammy Baldwin who was sworn in yesterday) which is also particularly noteworthy.
Now will Frank’s eagerness in serving lead Patrick to appoint him? That remains to be seen, however, it looks like he has to be considered one of the favorites to be named.