BOSTON (CBS) – Now that John Kerry has officially been nominated for Secretary of State, the race is on for his Senate seat in Massachusetts.

A special election will kick off once Kerry hands in his letter of resignation, according to Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin.

But before that election can be held, Gov. Deval Patrick has to appoint someone to fill the seat in the interim.

Several names have been mentioned, including former Gov. Michael Dukakis and Vicki Kennedy.  Dukakis told WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller earlier this week it won’t be him.

But, it could be a member of the current Massachusetts Congressional delegation.

“It’ll be someone most likely who understands how Washington works and can get right to work defending our federal funding streams. Governor Patrick has indicated that’s what he wants,” Keller told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Friday.

“One name to consider is outgoing Congressman John Olver from western Mass., where the governor maintains a home. He’s certainly been around long enough to protect our interests down there.”

The interim senator will hold the seat for a few months.  State law says the special election must be held between 145 to 160 days after Kerry formally resigns.

Read: The Race For Kerry’s Seat

That would likely happen in January, so a special election could be held in June.

That winner would finish out Kerry’s term, which expires in 2014, and possibly run for re-election.

“Several of the incumbent congressmen are obvious choices – (Michael) Capuano, (Ed) Markey, (Stephen) Lynch, maybe even Bill Keating. There could be a dark horse candidate,” Keller said.

“The bottom line is, right now everybody in Massachusetts who’s over 30, has $50 in the bank, and fancies themself walking up the steps of the Capitol is at least thinking about it.”


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