BOSTON (AP) -- Officials have set the dates for the special election to fill the First Suffolk District senate seat left vacant by former state Sen. Jack Hart's resignation.

The primary is scheduled for April 30, the same day as a statewide primary for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the departure of John Kerry.

The special election for the state senate seat is May 28, well ahead of the June 25 date for the U.S. Senate special election.

Hart stepped down to take a job at a private law firm. The South Boston Democrat had been seen as a candidate to replace Senate President Therese Murray, who is barred by term limits from serving as president beyond March 2015.

Among those hoping to replace Hart are Democratic state Reps. Nick Collins and Linda Dorcena Forry.