Friday December 28, 2012

President Barack Obama’s decision last week to nominate Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state means Massachusetts voters are facing their third Senate election since 2010.

If Kerry is confirmed by his fellow senators, which is expected, the long-serving Democrat would have to resign the seat he’s held for nearly three decades.

That would force Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint someone to serve on a temporary basis in Kerry’s seat until a special election could be scheduled between 145-160 days after his resignation.

Patrick has said he’s already begun talking to potential candidates to fill Kerry’s seat on an interim basis, although he wouldn’t reveal the names of those he’s considering, saying the conversations are being held in confidence.

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis, retiring Rep. Barney Frank and Victoria Kennedy, widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, have been mentioned as possible interim senators.

-- Associated Press