Massachusetts politics is experiencing some major changes at the national level, and Boston College is well represented. With John Kerry, BC Law '76, becoming President Obama's nominee to take over as Secretary of State when Hilary Clinton leaves next year, Massachusetts if faced with an open Senate seat once again.
The early frontrunner for the seat on the Democratic side is Ed Markey, currently representing Massachusetts' 7th district in the US House of Representatives and serving as the dean of the Massachusetts delegation. Markey is known as a progressive voice in the House.
“I refuse to allow the Tea Party-dominated Republican Party to lead us off the fiscal cliff and into recession,” Markey said in his announcement. “I won’t allow the NRA to obstruct an assault weapons ban yet again. I will not sit back and allow oil and coal industry lobbyists to thwart our clean energy future or extremists to restrict women’s rights and health care.”
Markey is a Double Eagle, having graduated from BC in 1968 and BC Law in 1972. After working at a private law practice and serving in the Army reserve, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, then to the US House, where he has served since 1976.
Massachusetts voters will be voting in a special election sometime next year to choose the next Senator. Until then, Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to appoint a successor who would serve in the office until the special election next year.
Markey picked up some major support last week, with Kerry coming out in support of Markey taking over his Senate seat. Kerry is likely to be formally nominated sometime after the presidential inauguration in January.
“While I began last week to formally step out of politics, and it’s very important that I respect the apolitical nature of the post I hope to soon occupy, as Massachusetts’ senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey’s for 28 years, I’m excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate,” Kerry said in a statement. ”Ed’s one of the most experienced and capable legislators in the entire Congress and it would be an almost unprecedented occasion for such an accomplished legislator to join the Senate able to hit the ground running on every issue of importance to Massachusetts.”
Vicki Kennedy, wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and who was mentioned as a possible candidate for the seat, showed her support of Markey in a statement: “I believe that Congressman Ed Markey is the best person to continue in the tradition of John Kerry,” she said. “He will be a superb senator for Massachusetts.”
Markey is the first Democratic candidate to get in the race, but there is speculation that other Democrats will get involved, including state Attorney General Martha Coakley, who lost to Scott Brown in a special Senate election 2010, Reps. Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano and former Rep. Martin Meehan.
For Republicans, Sen. Scott Brown, BC Law '85, is looking to be a strong favorite. Brown lost his Senate seat to Elizabeth Warren in November, but he is still expected to be a strong opponent. According to a WBUR poll, Brown has a good chance of winning against these Democratic opponents.
Photo courtesy of brandonwu/Flickr.