Dukakis likely interim successor to Kerry

Dec. 17, 2012 at 8:39 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis could be the interim successor to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., if Kerry is tapped for secretary of state, insiders said.

President Obama reportedly will nominate Kerry to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has announced she would step down next month, The Hill reported Monday.

Dukakis, 79, has remained politically active since his unsuccessful run as the Democratic presidential candidate against George H.W. Bush in 1988. He recently campaigned for Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat who won a hotly contested Senate seat in Massachusetts. He teaches at Northeastern University.

Kerry is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Observers indicate the Democratic contest for Kerry's seat will be strong and that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, is expected to fill the seat with someone who would pledge not to run in the special election.

"He'll most likely appoint a placeholder. A lot of people speculating that's Mike Dukakis," Jim Spencer, president of the Boston-based Campaign Network political consulting group, told The Hill. "That's the most obvious choice. Everybody thinks it's Dukakis."

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said he has heard Dukakis mentioned as an interim successor, along with with Vicki Kennedy, wife of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Should Kerry be nominated and receive Senate approval, Patrick has said he likely will name an interim replacement not interested in running in a special election, similar to what he did in 2010, when he tapped Paul Kirk to fill Kennedy's seat temporarily.

"I expect to do the same thing I did last time," The Boston Globe reported Patrick as saying. "I'm not ruling out other options. But, as a practical matter, it's hard for me to imagine how you could serve in the Senate for a four-month period and also run a statewide campaign in a four-month period and do both of them well."

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had been expected to be nominated to replace Clinton but Rice got run off by congressional Republicans over statements she made about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

ABC News reported Saturday that for a number of reasons, including the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Kerry's nomination wouldn't be officially announced for a few days.

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