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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Malden, Mass.) - After 35 years in the U.S. House, Mass. Congressman Ed Markey wants to switch to the other side of the Capitol.
Congressman Markey is well known, is one of the highest ranking Democrats in the House and has a reported $3 million war chest. But as it did last time, the race for the empty U.S. Senate seat will garner national interests and international attention.
The 66-year-old Democrat from Malden made it official Thursday: He will run for the seat with Senator John Kerry expected to become the next Secretary of State.
Markey, in a statement, came out with his gloves off saying, "I have decided to run for the U.S. Senate because this fight is too important. There is so much at stake. I refuse to allow the Tea Party-dominated Republican Party to lead us off the fiscal cliff and into recession. I won’t allow the NRA to obstruct an assault weapons ban yet again."
Ted Kennedy Jr. and Ben Affleck have said they are out, but Markey won't be alone among the Democrats vying for that seat, since Boston Congressmen Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch are considering it.
"While I am giving serious thought to running for the U.S. Senate and have received great encouragement, at this point I am still focused on my job as a Congressman and am working with my colleagues in the Massachusetts delegation to find solutions to the fiscal cliff," Lynch said in a statement.
Paul Watanabe is head of the UMass-Boston Political Science department, and says there's some strategy to Markey getting in first.
"And we're going to have a very short period of time for this campaign and the money is going to have to go somewhere. And why not be the first one in, hopefully soak up most of that money before it goes elsewhere," Watanabe said.
On the Republican side, Senator Scott Brown seems the likely choice to run after his defeat to Elizabeth Warren last month. He has not commented.
Former Governor Bill Weld's name has also been mentioned and he's back here in Boston.
"He's somebody who of course did quite well as Governor, but of course he lost ironically, this would be an interesting case if he ran again, because, of course, he ran for the Senate and lost to John Kerry," Watanabe said.
Meantime, we caught up with voters in Markey's hometown of Malden.
"I'm an independent voter and I don't like to see the same old people in, it's so boring," voter Bill Sullivan said.
"I would vote for him. (Ed Markey) could definitely (do the job) no question," said Janice McDermott.
Following Kerry's anticipated confirmation and resignation, the procedure going forward is for Governor Deval Patrick to name an interim senator a la Paul Kirk from a few years ago when Ted Kennedy died, then voters will choose a new senator at a special election between 145 and 160 days from the Kerry resignation, likely in June.
Interim possibilities, according to Watanabe, are endless because it won't likely be someone who will be considered for the seat for the two years left on Kerry's term.