If Kerry bolts, do Dems have a replacement?
Massachusetts political watchers have had their eyes on John Kerry’s Senate seat for nearly a decade now. At first, the seat was going to open up when Kerry cruised past George W. Bush and into the White House in 2004. After that fell through, there was speculation that Kerry would fill a cabinet post in President Obama’s first term; the State Department wound up going to Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates got to keep Defense, and the frustrated Democrats standing in line behind Kerry got to bide their time some more.
Now, with Kerry once again in the running to parachute into a cabinet post, the chatter surrounding Senate succession plans has taken an unexpected turn. Democrats aren’t asking themselves who among them will get to inherit the Senate seat; they’re wondering whether any of them can capture it.
Even before Obama’s reelection, speculation was swirling that Kerry could succeed Hillary Clinton atop the State Department. It has only picked up since then, with Sen. Lindsey Graham telling the Post that the woman presumed to be Obama’s first choice for State, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, “would have an incredibly difficult time” winning confirmation. And the Washington Post reported this weekend that Kerry may be a top choice to take over as Secretary of Defense. There may be several dominos falling around the Pentagon, as the adultery scandal surrounding CIA Director David Petraeus spreads to the upper ranks of the military.
Outgoing Sen. Scott Brown is waiting in the wings, should Kerry get the nod for either post. The Globe’s Glen Johnson has argued that Brown already had one eye on Kerry’s seat, even as he was defending his own seat against Elizabeth Warren. Despite losing to Warren by 8 points last week, and despite the nasty, negative tack his campaign against Warren took, Brown remains personally popular with Massachusetts voters. Brown clearly has his eye on another run for office, and he’s making a point to remain in the public eye.
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