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Democrats and Republicans get ready to run for Brown's state Senate seat

Posted by Jason Woods  January 19, 2010 10:52 PM

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Several local politicians from both parties are considering a campaign for Scott Brown's state Senate seat now that he has won a surprising victory in Tuesday's special US Senate election.

“We’re going to contest this seat,” John Walsh, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said Tuesday before the polls closed. “A lot of Democrats are looking at this seat.”

State Republicans also vowed to compete for the seat.

According to Massachusetts Senate rules, Senate President Therese Murray has 14 days to announce a special election to fill the remaining portion of the term for the vacant Senate seat. A regularly scheduled election for the full term will then be held in November.

One Democratic candidate has announced his intention to run for Brown’s seat, which represents Needham, Wrentham, Millis and parts of Attleboro, Franklin and Wellesley. Several other candidates from both parties have also expressed interest, but were waiting on the election results to formalize their plans.

Peter Smulowitz, a Democrat who is a Needham emergency room physician, announced in recent weeks his intent to run, regardless of whether Brown won.

“People are hungry and anxious for new leadership and a fresh perspective on the issues," Smultowitz said in an interview with the Globe last week.

State Rep. Lida Harkins, a Democrat, also told the Globe last week that she has started informing supporters that she may run for Brown’s seat should it vacate.

“I definitely have an interest in that seat,” she said.

Harkins was unwilling to make any commitments before the seat was up for grabs. Harkins has been a state representative since 1989, serving Needham, Medfield and Dover.

The Massachusetts Republican party has potential replacement candidates, though declined to name them prior to the candidates' own announcements.

“We are speaking with several Republican candidates who are strongly considering a run,” Tarah Donaghue, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Republican Party, said Tuesday.

Donaghue said an announcement from one or more candidates could be made in coming days.

Two Republican state representatives are also among those believed to be eying Brown’s seat.

“I wouldn’t consider [announcing my candidacy] in any way, shape or form until after the results come in,” State Rep. Elizabeth Poirier said Tuesday. “I wouldn’t want to jinx him or the election in any way.”

Poirier has represented the 14th Bristol district since 1999. Poirier said she has not made any moves to establish a campaign for Brown’s seat.

Poirier could potentially face fellow Republican House-member Richard Ross, who sources say is preparing a run for the seat. Ross was elected to represent the ninth Norfolk district in 2005.

Ross could not be reached for comment.

Yesterday, Brown campaign spokesman Felix Browne declined to comment on the potential successors to Brown, saying that Brown “has his own race to worry about.”

Brown was elected to the State Senate in a special election in March 2004 after Cheryl Jacques resigned. He won re-election in 2004, 2006, and 2008.

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