(CNN) – Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, has taken the first step to run for Ted Kennedy's empty Senate seat.
Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Secretary of State, confirms to CNN a representative for Coakley picked up nomination papers for the race earlier Tuesday. Coakley will now have to gather 10,000 signatures by October 20 to be eligible to run for the seat long held by Kennedy, who died last week.
Coakley is the first candidate on either side to officially pick up the nomination papers, but McNiff indicated he thinks other candidates might do so Tuesday as well.
"The day is young," he said.
The move comes one day after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick formally announced a special election to fill the seat will be held on January 19, 2010. Patrick also said Republican and Democratic primaries will be held December 8.
Several other Massachusetts Democrats have not ruled out running for the seat, including Kennedy's nephew former Rep. Joseph Kennedy, who reportedly has close to $1.8 million left over from his campaign fund when he was a member of Congress 10 years ago.
On the Republican side, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, businessman David Sukoff and State Sen. Scott Brown are reportedly interested in running.
A former district attorney, Coakley was elected attorney general in 2006.
Follow Alex Mooney on Twitter