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Ted Kennedy Jr. says no to Senate bid

By Jim Smith

BOSTON --- Edward M. Kennedy Jr. has announced that he will not be a candidate in the Massachusetts special election to fill the seat of Senator John Kerry, who has been nominated by President Obama to be secretary of state.

In a press statement, the 51-year-old investment banker and lawyer said, "Although I have a strong desire to serve in public office, I consider Connecticut to be my home, and hope to have the honor to serve at another point in my future....I am extremely grateful for all the offers of support that I have received."

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Powerful Democrats are now coalescing around the Senate candidacy of U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, a 36-year veteran congressman from Malden who late last week received the support of Kerry himself and from Vicki Kennedy, widow of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Markey's grandparents were immigrants to the U.S. from County Monaghan, and in 1995 he traveled with President Clinton to Dublin and Belfast.

Democratic party leaders are evidently hoping to avoid a contentious primary over the coming months, one which could weaken an eventual candidate in a race against presumptive Republican candidate Scott Brown, who retains widespread popularity despite having been beaten by Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the November senate race.

But the rallying around Markey is not sitting well with some other potential Democratic candidates, particularly Congressman Michael Capuano, who expressed his chagrin in a recent pres release.

"It seems that the big names of our party are trying to choose our nominee for us....If I make this run...it will be from the streets up, and not from the elite down," Capuano said.

Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston has also had his eye on the race, and he is expected to announce his intentions in the coming days.

In her endorsement of Markey, Vicki Kennedy described the 66-year-old congressman as "the best person to continue in the tradition of John Kerry to serve our commonwealth in the U.S. Senate."

She has not publicly ruled out the possibility of serving as an interim senator in the months leading up to the special election. Under state law, Governor Deval Patrick is required to appoint an interim senator once a vacancy occurs.

The winner of the special election, which will likely occur in June, will serve for the remainder of Kerry's term, until 2014, and could also run for a full six-year term in the 2014 midterm elections.

Meanwhile, the Boston Herald was reporting Tuesday that speculation is mounting that Scott Brown might forego a bid to return to the Senate and instead mount a campaign to become governor of Massachusetts.