Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Monday that he would not run for Senate if Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is appointed to a position in President Barack Obama's cabinet.
"If I wanted to stay in Congress, why wouldn’t I prefer being a senior member of the House rather than the most junior member of the Senate?" he said in an interview with The Boston Globe.
Frank announced his retirement last year, saying he didn't want to neglect his constituents while running in a reconfigured district, so it's hard to imagine him turning around to run statewide. Frank made preparations to run for Kerry's seat in 2004, when Kerry was the Democratic presidential nominee, but he lost and the chance never presented itself.
Kerry is viewed as a top contender for the role of secretary of state in Obama's second term, but senior administration officials told the Washington Post that the nomination will "almost certainly" go to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice. Kerry is also seen as a contender for defense secretary, though it's unclear if he would leave the Senate to take the job.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who lost his seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren earlier this month, has said that Kerry would be an "excellent" secretary of state, but he has declined to say whether he'd run for Senate if Kerry were nominated, saying there's no vacancy yet. One of Brown's top aides, Jerry McDermott, posted on Facebook, "Team Scott Brown. Hope you had some much needed rest. Looks to be a busy 2013 and 2014."
The potential for Kerry's Senate seat to turn Republican probably hurts his chances of being nominated to a cabinet position, given that Brown is a popular figure statewide who ran a close race. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reportedly told the White House that he would be "furious" if Democrats lose the Kerry seat. Publicly, Reid said he's "comfortable" about the seat's prospects.
Under Massachusetts law, when a senate seat opens up, a special election is held within 145 to 160 days to find a permanent replacement. The governor appoints a temporary senator to serve in the interim.
Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) said that he would consider a run for the seat should it open up. Capuano lost the Democratic primary for the 2010 special election to Attorney General Martha Coakley, who went on to lose to Brown in the general.