Dukakis To The Senate?

There’s speculation that Massachusetts Governor Duvall Patrick may end up reaching back into the state’s political past to fill John Kerry’s Senate seat pending a Special Election:

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.

Dukakis, who is 79, has remained politically active. He campaigned for Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) this fall and teaches at Northeastern University.

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.

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

The other name on the list is Victoria Kennedy, the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy, but it’s unclear that she’s interested in jumping into the political fray.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    You know what’s truly amazing about the Bay State? Back in 1952 it had 16 electoral votes. Now it has 11. After the 2030 census it’ll have 10. Perhaps 9. Even CNBC could discern that obvious trend line. But yet the irony would be lost on the vast majority of its residents and nearly upon all of its politicos.

    In any event, “the Duke” as a placeholder Senator makes sense. Although it does raise the question about why Obama is so married to the notion of Kerry for a cabinet post. Why give Scott Brown yet another chance to win a special election? Why not name someone like Jim Webb or Ken Salazar as SecState? Howard Dean? Someone from a safe House district?

  2. Tano says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Because the first consideration must be who is best for the job, rather than the political consequences. Obviously.

    And what is ironic about the fact that MA has an ever smaller share of the overall US population?

  3. That Other Mike says:

    @Tano: With Tsar Nicholas, as with Dick Morris, it’s basically always safe to assume that he’s wrong about everything, including questions of fact and the meaning of irony.

  4. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You know what’s truly amazing about the Bay State?

    Let me guess – that it’s like a lot of states that have lost population relative to others? Not sure what your point is, other than “If Massachusetts was a stock, I would short it”.

  5. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Yeah, it is really really weird that a state that already had one of the highest population densities in the country in 1952 would have its population growth slow down relative to less densely populated states over the last sixty years. Boy howdy, the math sure is difficult to discern on that one!!

  6. edmond says:

    I still don’t understand why the Massachusetts legislature doesn’t just pass a bill that says the unexpired term of an elected senator must be completed by a member of the same political party as the outgoing senator. If it works in Wyoming, it will work in Massachusetts.

    The Democrats are so lame.

  7. stonetools says:

    Please get my comment out of anti-spam moderation. Thanks

  8. de stijl says:

    @That Other Mike:

    the meaning of irony

    Apparently Tsar Nicholas learned the faulty definition of irony from Alanis Morrisette.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I think we need a society-wide ban on the word “irony,” for 5 years, during which an intensive educational effort would be carried out to explain what it means.

  10. Neil Hudelson says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I taught 8th grade English for a very short time. One of the few times I truly felt I made a difference was when a student asked how to tell if they were using “irony” incorrectly.

    I answered “If you mean ‘crappy luck’, you are using it wrong.”

    That class of 14 year olds have a much better grasp of irony now than Tsar Nicky, a self-professed lawyer and, apparently, financial analyst.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Not that that is the only way people use ‘irony’ incorrectly.

  12. Whitfield says:

    Dukakis ran one of the most inept presidential campaigns in history.
    Ken Salazar ? The guy who doesn’t care if gas gets to $10 a gallon? Is our country so short on statesmen and leaders that people like this are being picked to run anything?

  13. Kylopod says:

    This somehow feels karmic. Right after seeing one Massachusetts politician lose a presidential race, two others who suffered the same fate get to see their careers resuscitated.

  14. rudderpedals says:


    Dukakis ran one of the most inept presidential campaigns in history.

    Because of the Willie Horton ads?
    The tank picture?
    The answer at the debate?
    Hated Olympia in the film with Cher?