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Hotline Sort: Mass Interest

December 20, 2012

On Wednesday, we looked at the small field of possible GOP contenders in a Massachusetts special Senate election if Sen. Scott Brown opts against running. Today, we'll look at the much larger field of potential Democratic candidates – expect a crowded primary.

The delegation:

The first names to come up are often longtime Reps. Ed Markey, Stephen Lynch, and Michael Capuano. All three are considering running, and Markey (who has about $3 million in the bank) conducted a poll on the race. Capuano ran in the 2010 special election, losing to Martha Coakley in the Democratic primary.

Gov. Deval Patrick could appoint one of them to the seat too -- but while that can give a leg-up in a special election, it would also mean whichever congressman was appointed would need to give up their House seat -- and some of the allure of the special election is the ability to run for Senate without giving those safe seats up. Last time Patrick appointed a senator, in 2009, he put a "placeholder" in the seat rather than someone who would immediately begin campaigning.

A few other, newer members of the delegation are mentioned sporadically: Reps. Nikki Tsongas and Bill Keating.

There's also a former member of the delegation whose name comes up: Marty Meehan, now serving as chancellor of UMass Lowell, who still has $5 million in his campaign fund. Meehan has indicated he's not interested in running, citing a "full plate at the university."


The Boston Globe's Glen Johnson wrote Thursday that the state "has entered a period of name-dropping" in anticipation of a special election for Sen. John Kerry's seat.

His prime examples: Actor Ben Affleck, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's son Edward Kennedy Jr. (a Connecticut resident, he's apparently interested in running) and Margaret Marshall, who was the state Supreme Judicial Court chief justice when it legalized gay marriage. And as potential "placeholders," Ted Kennedy's widow Vicki Kennedy and former Gov. Michael Dukakis (though he has now said he isn't interested).

The unknowns:

Thirty-one year old state Sen. Benjamin Downing, who represents Pittsfield in Western Massachusetts, is reportedly gearing up for a bid. He's a former aide to former Rep. Bill Delahunt and Reps. Richard Neal and John Olver.

Then there are two businessmen whose names come up: Bain Capital's Stephen Pagliuca, who ran in the 2010 special election, and former Hancock insurance CEO David D'Alessandro.

The 2012 dropouts (plus DeFranco):

A number of Democrats were initially running in the primary against Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, but the writing was on the wall regarding a Warren victory. So one by one Newton Mayor Setti Warren, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei (who also ran in the 2009 special primary), and activist Bob Massie dropped out of the race. Only immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco hung on, running until the convention, when Warren got enough support to end the primary. All four could run again.

More likely to run for governor in 2014:

Treasurer Steve Grossman, who ran for governor in 2002, has said he will take a "hard look" at another run. Coakley, who lost to Brown in 2010, is also thought to have her sights set on the governor's race rather than another Senate special. And Patrick denied a report that he talked U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz up as a potential gubernatorial candidate in a conversation with state legislative leaders.

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