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Kerry’s State Dept. Confirmation Officially Sparks New Senate Race

kerrysectSenate confirms Kerry nomination for State Dept.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state.

The vote was 94-3. Once sworn-in, Kerry will replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is stepping down after four years.

The vote came just hours after the Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination by voice vote. Kerry has led the committee for the past four years.

The 69-year-old Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate.

Mass. Gov. to name interim US senator

Gov. Deval Patrick is keeping his choice for interim U.S. senator close to the vest.

Patrick is promising to announce on Wednesday who he will appoint to fill Sen. John Kerry’s seat until a special election is held in Massachusetts on June 25.

Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is the only person who has publicly expressed interest in serving as the interim senator.

Other names that have drawn speculation include Carol Fulp, a Boston business and civic leader; William “Mo” Cowan, the governor’s former chief-of-staff; Victoria Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy; and former Gov. Michael Dukakis.

Patrick has said his selection will be a person who is not planning to run in the special election.

US Rep. Lynch expected to confirm Senate candidacy

Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch says he’s not worried about any fundraising edge fellow Markey may have in the race to fill the Senate seat.

Lynch is planning to tour the state Thursday with stops in Springfield, Worcester and Boston to tell voters about his plans for the special election.

Lynch won’t explicitly say he’s getting into the race, but on Tuesday the Boston Democrat also brushed aside criticism that he may be too conservative to win a Democratic primary in Massachusetts.

Lynch said all a candidate can do is offer leadership and explain what his views are and then let voters decide.

Scott Brown `leaning strongly’ toward Senate bid

GOP officials close to Scott Brown report that the former Republican senator is “leaning strongly toward running” in the special election to replace Kerry.

They report that Brown is likely to enter the race early next week. The officials spoke Tuesday on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to share internal discussions.

A Brown spokesman declined to comment.

First elected in 2010, Brown was defeated by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren last fall, but remains popular and still has a statewide political organization.

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