Another Massachusetts Senate special election is on: President Obama will officially nominate Democratic Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be secretary of state this afternoon, the Boston Globe reports.
The 2004 presidential nominee is expected to sail through the Senate confirmation process. Once he is confirmed and steps down from his Senate seat, Gov. Deval Patrick must schedule a special election 145 to 160 days after the vacancy. Assuming Kerry is confirmed in January, that would mean a June election. Patrick will also nominate someone to hold the seat in the interim. The winner of the special election will hold the seat for the remainder of Kerry's term, which is up in 2014.
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who lost his November reelection bid, is widely expected to jump into the race. He would be an instant favorite -- though he just lost a campaign by 8 points, he remains popular in the state. A WBUR poll released Thursday showed him with a 58 percent favorability rating, leading all Democratic candidates tested in head-to-head matchups. Brown won his seat in 2010, in the special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Check out our breakdown of potential Republican candidates in the unlikely event that Brown passes on a bid (perhaps to run for governor in 2014 instead) here.
Expect a big Democratic field, possibly including three members of the state's congressional delegation (Ed Markey, Steve Lynch, and Michael Capuano). And big names from Edward Kennedy, Jr. to Ben Affleck are floating around as possible contenders. Check out our roundup of the potential Democratic contenders here.