Frank: may get interim Senate vacancy

It’s just a rumor at this point, but it’s one that makes a lot of sense and one that could require a careful adjustment to the LGBT history books.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is reportedly considering U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to step into a U.S. Senate vacancy that is expected to be created when the Senate confirms current U.S. Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State.

Governor Patrick held a press conference in Boston on Friday (December 21) to say he would not name anyone to the seat until after Kerry’s seat becomes officially vacant. And that doesn’t happen until after Kerry goes through a confirmation hearing and vote in the Senate.

Other names being tossed around the rumor mill as potential interim senators include former Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis and Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.

The governor is expected to ask the person he appoints to serve only for the several months until a special election can be held to fill Kerry’s seat for the remainder of his term. Kerry’s current term expires in 2015.

President Obama nominated Kerry December 15 to replace retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Kerry is widely regarded as popular with senators in both political parties and likely to receive easy confirmation.

The exciting prospects for LGBT history is that Rep. Frank may –if appointed to serve as interim senator—become the first openly gay senator in the U.S. Senate. That designation would steal a little of the historical spotlight won by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) in November. Baldwin, who won a U.S. Senate seat from Wisconsin, would still retain the title as first openly gay person to be elected to the U.S. Senate, but Frank would hold the title of first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Frank did not return a reporter’s call, but the Washington Post reported that, in an interview off the floor of the House on Thursday, Frank said, “I’m not going to say ‘no’ to something that’s not been offered to me.”

Frank, 70, is retiring at the end of his 17th term in office. His House seat was won by pro-gay Democratic candidate Joe Kennedy.

2 Responses to Frank: may get interim Senate vacancy

  1. Chad says:

    Secretary Clinton will not retire until President Obama is inaugurated in late January, which means Kerry will not resign his Senate seat until then. Baldwin will be sworn in on January 2nd and a confirmation hearing has not even been set for Kerry. There is zero chance that Frank will be sworn in before Baldwin.

  2. BZ says:

    If Kerry isn’t confirmed before January 3, then Baldwin will still be first on both counts.

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