But the Republican bench in Massachusetts is not strong. When Brown announced his decision, the state’s Republicans were left wondering “what now?”
It says little for the party’s chances in Massachusetts that the first two prospects to leap to mind were former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey — who last lost an election for governor in 2006 to Deval Patrick and could not win a state representative race in Beverly — and former Gov. William Weld — who was last seen in these parts in 2000 carrying his suitcases across the border to New York after his failed 1997 nomination as ambassador to Mexico.
Both Healey and Weld have declared their lack of interest in the Senate seat. Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow of Norfolk and state Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester have both said they are interested in running, but their candidacies would likely be aimed at raising their profiles for another race in 2014 or beyond. Then there’s the daunting fact that a potential Republican candidate needs to acquire 10,000 signatures by the end of February.
As Ted Kennedy and John Kerry both ably demonstrated, Senate seats don’t open up all that often. It is extraordinarily difficult to pry a senator out of office with all the advantages incumbency offers.
Massachusetts Republicans need to start from scratch. Try winning a few more state representative elections and getting a few state senators elected. Then maybe try for a congressional seat — former state Sen. Richard Tisei came close to unseating Democrat John Tierney in the Sixth Congressional District race just a few months ago. Then, the next time a U.S. Senate seat opens, the people of Massachusetts might find a recognizable Republican name on the ballot.
Wouldn’t that be a nice change?