If Kerry replaces Clinton, who replaces him?
December 13th, 2012
08:54 PM ET
10 years ago

If Kerry replaces Clinton, who replaces him?

(CNN) – After U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice's withdrawal from consideration for secretary of state Thursday, all eyes turned to Sen. John Kerry from Massachusetts, who is considered a likely replacement.

But who will fill Kerry's Senate seat if he’s chosen?

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If Kerry steps down, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, would appoint a temporary replacement until he state holds a special election to fill the seat after 145 days and before 160 days of the vacancy. If Clinton remains in her post until the inauguration, and Kerry then immediately resigns to succeed her, the special election to replace him would have to be held between June 13 and June 28, 2013.

If Kerry replaces Clinton, Sen. Scott Brown may have an opportunity to win back a place in the upper chamber.

Brown, a Republican, lost his re-election bid in a costly and hotly contested race to Democrat Elizabeth Warren last month. Scott originally won the seat in a special election in 2010 to replace the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy.

If Kerry’s seat is open, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey is considered a likely contender among Democrats. Markey did not run in the special election two years ago to replace Kennedy because Democrats held the majority in the House at the time and he was content with his position as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Republicans have widely embraced Kerry over Rice for the position. After the ambassador's announcement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Massachusetts senator would be a "popular choice with the Senate."

Rice drew heavy criticism from Republicans over her statements after the September attacks on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Rice was seen as a frontrunner to replace current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Kerry praised Rice as "an extraordinarily capable and dedicated public servant" in a statement after her announcement.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • John Kerry • Massachusetts • Scott Brown
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. REinAZ

    Put it in perspective. Lindsay Graham and John McCain maliciously and aggressively attacked and criticized Susan Rice for what likely was one honest error, yet GWBush constantly lied like a “convict on the run”, with Condi Rice always boldly repeating and swearing to everything he said – and all of that while both Graham and McCain never said even one word to fault it. Politics stinks but I think Graham and McCain literally took it to its lowest level with their self-serving arrogant and obnoxious abuse of power, to simply intimidate for political purposes. It isn’t what you think of S. Rice that matters, it is what is accepted as appropriate and ignored when it is disgusting and a total abuse of power aimed to just con the public and simply serve political self-interests. Adding injury to insult, they got away with it.

    December 13, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Lance D.

    RE: JOHN KERRY - As Obama would say: "Bring it on" - The "Massachusetts Thing" is getting riper for the picking by the day.

    December 13, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  3. Lance D.

    "Justice before politics" - just want to make sure something like Benghazi never happens again

    December 13, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  4. Lance D.

    Eric Holder will probably be subpeonaed by Congress soon

    December 13, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  5. MaryM

    It sure wont be Scott Brown

    December 13, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. Ed1

    What about Bozo or Fred Flintstone they could do the job just as good.

    December 13, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  7. Vet.Vet.

    It would be funny, all though Sen. Kerry is highly qulified if the President pick some else, that would be a solid blow to those hypocrits McCain, Graham and Kelly and a bunch of the other Rethugs who think, if Kerry leave, their delusional thinking is that Republican Scott Brown will get re-elected, These Rethugs still thinking the majority of Americans are low information like their base, its just like the Election never happen. No matter how many time things change, they remain the same in the minds of these Republicans!

    December 13, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. mcskadittle

    since when does the minority party in the senate get to pick who the president nominates for sec of state?

    December 13, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  9. John Oboho

    It has nothing to do with Benghazi talk points,it's all politics.

    December 13, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  10. tammyk tammy

    Irresponsible distraction describes McCain and the GOTP to a T. Ms. Rice was railroaded by the nasty bitter old men for political purposes to get back at Obama. Shame on them.

    December 13, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  11. John Smith

    It is all political of course. They've made a brilliant chess move. Denouncing Rice so they could get a free Senate seat.... this is just Shameful.

    December 14, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  12. steve

    KERRY 2016– "America, you almost elected a plastic, insincere rich guy last time, so how's about giving one with a heart a shot?"

    December 14, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  13. Tony in Maine

    We know who McCain and Graham and their sock puppet Ayotte have chosen, the question becomes, will the voters of Massachusetts be that stupid again.

    December 14, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  14. Get Real

    I am sure it will be someone that is slanted and irrelevant.

    December 14, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  15. are122

    Jane Fonda might be a good replacement for him.

    December 14, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  16. Gregory M. Newbold

    Mr. Obama should have gone to the mat over Susan Rice; not for her but rather for HIM. Her work history and academic preparation make her EXTREMELY WELL QUALIFIED for this position. She has semonstrated a workman`slike graitas in the area of Foreign Affairs & Diplomacy. I think Republicans have FURTHER marginalized themselves by going after her.

    The President is feeding a narrative that he is soft, ALL TALK & NO ACTION, that he can be bum-rushed. Such genteel overtures WILL NOT impress Republicans; it won`t make them reciprocate.

    Sir, you won the election. Take the gloves off & keep them off. It is the only way that your legacy will include immigration reform, tax reform, tax rate fairness, a national energy policy, or remaking the Supreme Court in the image that pleases your Democratic base.

    Nominating Kerry is the easy way out and it is the equivalence of giving into "terrorist demands". For your own, long term effectiveness, you need to channel your inner LBJ.

    December 14, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  17. mk

    The Republicans are great at dirty pool.

    December 14, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  18. Mete Krop

    Obama need not elect Kerry as his foreign affair chief. Because if he does that Kerry;'s place in the sanate would easily be replaced by the Scott Brown and I believe this is the plot that McCain and Graham did the past couple of days. These falks know that nothing fault that Ms. Rice did in the TV interiviews. But the tried to prevent her from being a secussor of Ms. Clinton. So I want to see Pre. Obama will play this chase game and hopfully he will play it win it. Okay.

    December 14, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |