Frank Interested in Serving
Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA-4) made a public statement saying he is interested in receiving his state’s interim Senate appointment because he wants to participate in the upcoming fiscal legislative debate. Congress will tackle the debt ceiling issue before the Massachusetts replacement special election is conducted.
Sen. John Kerry (D) will resign his seat upon being confirmed as Secretary of State. Under Massachusetts succession law, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) must appoint an interim senator until the people choose a permanent replacement in a special election. Gov. Patrick has indicated that he is inclined to appoint someone who will not run for the seat. But he may come under intense pressure to appoint Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5), already an announced statewide candidate, because Democratic Party leaders want to ensure that the seat is held with little political risk. Thus, they are trying to unify their voters behind Markey, making him a consensus candidate. Appointing the long-time congressman to the seat will give him a huge advantage in the special election.
Gov. Patrick had no reaction to Frank’s statement. The Kerry confirmation process has not even begun, so we are likely a few weeks away from the time when he will be required to make a decision. Patrick has previously stated that he will announce the appointment when Sen. Kerry resigns and not before.
Asa for Governor
Former Arkansas Congressman and Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Asa Hutchinson says he plans to run in his state’s open contest for governor next year. The 62-year-old Republican was elected to three terms in the US House and served three years in his administration position under Pres. George W. Bush.
Hutchinson previously ran for governor in 2006 and performed badly. He lost to then Attorney General Mike Beebe (D) 41-55 percent. Beebe won re-election in 2010, but is ineligible to seek a third term in office under state law. Since Arkansas has moved considerably to the right in recent elections, the eventual Republican nominee will likely be considered the early general election favorite, at the very least.