Massachusetts Senate special election windfall not a sure thing


Democrat and RepublicanJohn Kerry (D-MA) is moving his office from Capitol Hill to Foggy Bottom (assuming Senate confirmation of his appointment as Secretary of State), opening his seat to a special election. It could be a big spending bonanza, or a dud.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has already announced his intentions to run for the seat, and the Democratic Party seems to be lining up behind him. He is sitting on a substantial campaign warchest of over $3M, and members of his party would prefer he spend it in a general rather than a primary election.

Scott Brown (R-MA) is widely believed to be his likely opponent, and he would be a formidable one. He won the race for the seat that opened upon the death of Ted Kennedy (D-MA), only to lose last November to Elizabeth Warren in a battle that perhaps led all senatorial contests in terms of national interest.

Brown figures to have no problem raising cash in his own right. And as the only game on the fight card and no major expenditure needs for over a year, political action committees will be able to indulge in spending sprees at drunken sailor levels, flooding the state with advertising money.

However, an article in Politico applies the brakes – it notes that Brown may well shy away from the contest and instead set his sights on a run for governor of the state.

For starters, Republicans have had much more luck winning that seat than they have winning one in the US Senate, and the first witness to that effect is one Mitt Romney.

Perhaps the bigger reason is that Brown is becoming a perpetual senatorial candidate.

He won an abbreviated term in 2010, finishing out Kennedy’s term. He had to defend the seat in 2012. If he runs for Kerry’s seat, it will mean campaigning in 2013 to win yet another abbreviated term, and he’ll have to defend the seat again in 2014.

If Brown does not run, its questionable whether the Republicans can quickly produce another candidate with a chance to win – and they certainly won’t find anybody of Brown’s stature. And if they don’t, the size of the Republican warchest may well be greatly diminished.

But maybe a lot of out-of-state money will flow in regardless.

Stay tuned.