The Hill reports that Governor Deval Patrick may appoint Michael Dukakis to Senator John Kerry’s seat if Kerry is nominated for secretary of state. Choosing Dukakis as a temporary placeholder until the special election isn’t a bad idea. He’s a trusted figure in state Democratic circles, and, even better, he doesn’t appear to have long-term ambitions for the seat. That’s a huge benefit since Patrick doesn’t want to appoint anyone who would run in the special election, according to The Hill:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, may be headed back to the political spotlight as he’s considered a likely interim replacement for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).
President Obama is set to tap Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, according to media reports.
This means Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) needs to find someone to fill Kerry’s seat until a special election can be held in the late spring or early summer. …
The Democratic primary for Kerry’s seat will be intense and Patrick is expected to tap someone as an interim replacement who would promise not to run in the special election.
Should we read anything into the fact that Patrick isn’t appointing anyone who would run in the special election? He did the same thing after Ted Kennedy passed away and there was no heir apparent, but that was back when Scott Brown was just seen as a Republican state senator with no chance of competing seriously against the Massachusetts Democratic Party behemoth.
Things have obviously changed. Even after losing to Elizabeth Warren, Brown will still be a real contender in the special election if he decides to run. And there don’t appear to be any candidates on the Democratic short list that are as strong as Warren was. While Vicki Kennedy has the last name and marital history going for her, she’s never run for public office and it’s difficult to predict how she would fare in the spotlight. Appointing someone like Kennedy–or Rep. Ed Markey, another well-circulated name–before the special election would give these candidates a boost they could really use going into the race. Which is why it’s interesting that the governor is passing on the opportunity.
There is one intriguing possibility who isn’t included on many of the short lists, and that’s Deval Patrick. If he appointed himself, it could be seen as bad form. But if he appoints someone like Dukakis, who is not seen as a threat during the special election, then Patrick can still keep his options open for a possible bid.