The special election to fill John Kerry’s seat in the U.S. Senate will be in late June, after most schools have let out for the summer and vacation season begins to heat up, Secretary of State William Galvin said on Monday.
Anticipating that Kerry will resign today after the full Senate confirms his nomination to become secretary of state, Gov. Deval Patrick has chosen June 25 as the date for the special election to fill the remainder of his term through 2014, Galvin said, adding that he anticipates Democratic and Republican primaries will be held April 30. The governor also plans to appoint an interim senator on Wednesday.
Galvin said he was told by the secretary of the United States Senate that Kerry plans to submit his resignation today and effective on Friday, triggering the state law governing Senate vacancies.
State law mandates that the special election be held within 145 to 160 days of a vacancy, created by the submission of a resignation or death. The late June date settled on by Patrick is one of the earliest he could have picked, coming 147 days from Tuesday and falling just before the July 4 holiday.
After interviewing Kerry during a confirmation hearing last week, the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a vote for today to refer Kerry’s nomination to the full Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated the Senate will follow up with a confirmation vote the same day.
If that schedule holds, Patrick told reporters in East Boston on Monday that he will announce his selection to fill Kerry’s seat on an interim basis Wednesday.
Asked whether he had made a final decision, Patrick said, “Pretty much. I have one or two other questions to ask. We’ll be ready.”
The governor has kept his internal list of candidates confidential, with the exception of former Congressman Barney Frank who has publicly talked about wanting appointment and talking to the governor about it. Frank has also drawn significant public support — especially from the fishing industry rooted in Gloucester and New Bedford, because Frank has been one of the industry’s leading advocates in its fights with the federal government over regulatory issues and enforcement.