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Dukakis Won’t Be Senate Placeholder

Surprisingly enough, Michael Dukakis apparently doesn’t want to upend his schedule for the next few months to play placeholder for a bunch of Democratic Senate hopefuls. He waved off rumors that he’d accept a temporary appointment to the seat until a special election is convened, in an interview with WBZ-TV yesterday (h/t HotAir):

Former Gov. Michael Dukakis says he will not be a candidate for appointment as interim senator should Sen. John Kerry resign to accept appointment as Secretary of State.

In a brief State House interview Monday, Dukakis told WBZ-TV: “I’m headed for the West to teach,” alluding to his annual spring-semester teaching duties at UCLA.

“That’s a no,” said Dukakis in reference to a possible appointment by Gov. Deval Patrick to fill the seat until a special election can be held. Dukakis also said he had not been contacted by the governor’s office in regard to a possible appointment.

So who’s next on the list? Patrick said he won’t appoint anyone who wants to run in the special election, which limits the possibilities. Interestingly enough, Ted Kennedy’s widow Vicki Kennedy’s name is also being floated for a temporary role, despite speculation that she’d be a top potential candidate in the election. If that happens, we can either assume she won’t run or that that the Massachusetts Democratic Party is more nervous about competing with Scott Brown than it’s letting on and wants to give Kennedy an early boost.

Another interesting possibility is that Bay State Democrats could change the state law that prevents governors from appointing someone to finish out the departing senator’s term, though Dukakis rejected the idea:

Dukakis dismissed speculation that Beacon Hill Democrats might seek to once again change the succession law to allow the governor to appoint someone to fill out the remainder of Kerry’s term, which runs through 2014. The law was changed in 2004 as Kerry sought the presidency for fear that then-Gov. Mitt Romney would be able to make that coveted appointment.

Democrats could certainly do it, but that would create other problems for them. Senate seats rarely come up in Massachusetts, and if it looks like they aren’t giving candidates in their own party a fair chance then future recruitment could suffer.


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