Field to replace Kerry narrows, again
Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano of Massachusetts will not run for the Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. John Kerry.
January 15th, 2013
03:27 PM ET
1 year ago

Field to replace Kerry narrows, again

(CNN) – You can strike another Massachusetts Democratic lawmaker from the list of candidates trying to replace Sen. John Kerry in the Senate.

Rep. Michael Capuano announced Tuesday that he won't make a bid for the Senate in a special election expected to be held later this year.

"After careful consideration, I have decided not to enter the race for US Senate. Instead, I look forward to focusing on the important issues facing the new Congress. My current work in the House and whatever opportunities the future may hold, afford me the greatest honor of my life; fighting for the Citizens of the Commonwealth," said the eight-term congressman, who represents the Bay State's eight congressional district, which is located in Boston.

Last month President Barack Obama nominated Kerry, the longtime senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee as his choice to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Senate is expected to confirm Kerry later this month or next month.

Depending on when Kerry steps down from the Senate to take over as secretary of state, a special election to fill his seat would take place in mid to late June or July. The state's Democratic governor, Deval Patrick, would name a placeholder (who would not run in the special election) to fill the seat in the interim.

Longtime Democratic Rep. Ed Markey announced his candidacy late last month. He has been endorsed by Kerry, Ted Kennedy's widow Vicki, and by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is hoping to avoid a primary. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a social conservative from South Boston, is flirting with running.

"As we await Senator Kerry's confirmation, I will use the available time to meet with constituents and elected officials in order to decide how I might best serve the families of Massachusetts," Lynch said in a statement.

Late last week state Sen. Ben Downing, who had also been considering a bid, announced he would not run in the special election.

On the Republican side, the big question is whether former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts makes a bid to return to the Senate.

A source close to the Bay State Republican told CNN recently that "Scott is undecided. I think he's going to wait for an actual vacancy to be declared and for an election date to be set."

In January 2010, then Republican state lawmaker Brown upset Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, in a special election to fill the final two years of the term of longtime Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died the previous summer. Coakley defeated Capuano in a multi-candidate Democratic primary.

Brown won the special election by five points over Coakley, but lost his re-election bid in November to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren by eight points. Around 2.3 million voters cast ballots in the 2010 special election, and nearly 3.2 million voting in last month's general election. A big question is whether the 2013 electorate will look more like that of the 2010 contest or that of last month's general election.

In his Election Night concession speech Brown in November said "defeat is only temporary."

And in his Senate farewell speech last month, Scott repeated that line, and also added that "depending on what happens, and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again, but I'm looking forward to continuing on with those friendships, with continuing on working with my staff."

Even though they voted him out of office in the November election, 58% of Massachusetts voters questioned in a WBUR poll conducted last month said they have a favorable opinion of Brown, with just 28% saying they viewed him in a negative light.

According to the poll, Brown grabbed the backing 47% of registered voters compared to 39% who said they would vote for a generic Democratic candidate in a 2013 special election contest. The survey also indicated Brown with double digit leads against Markey, Capuano, and Lynch, in hypothetical matchups.

Whoever wins the special election would serve the final year and a half of Kerry's term and would then have to run again in 2014 for a full six-year term in office.


Filed under: John Kerry • Massachusetts • Senate
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Have no fear....the popular vote and electoral college soon will no longer matter as the GOP/Teatrolls controlling states around the country try to turn their states into places taht split electoral votes, allowing them to gerrymander the WH just like they did the House.

    January 15, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. michaelam

    C'mon Deval! Throw your hat into the ring, seriously! The Senate is a great stepping stone to the White House; just ask President Obama!

    January 15, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |