For more than a generation Sen. John Kerry has stood at the top of the top of the political food chain in the Massachusetts federal delegation as one of two U.S. Senators – being the senior senator for the last few years – and since his proposed appointment last week to the Secretary of State cabinet post, its ignited a feeding frenzy in that food chain.
Naturally, the process for getting a permanent senator in place with a special election will take a little time, and an interim appointment will have to be made – most likely a ‘seat holder’ who will not run in the special election.
The way it will play out is that Gov. Deval Patrick will have to make the interim appointment – and that interim appointment will hold the seat. When the late Sen. Ted Kennedy passed away in 2009, Patrick made a non-political appointment in Paul Kirk, who had no intentions of running for the seat permanently.
It remains to be seen if Patrick will do the same sort of thing this time around, as the Democrats ended up losing that seat to Sen. Scott Brown later on. Being the interim appointee could bode well for making a run in the special election, and could help stave off Sen. Scott Brown if he eventually decides to make another run for Senate after losing his current seat in last month’s election.
All of the interim senator saga will play out over the first weeks of 2013, but in all likelihood, it won’t make much of a difference on the special election.
By state law, a special election for the seat must take place between 145 and 160 days of Kerry officially leaving office.