With President Barack Obama likely to pluck Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) from his longtime Senate seat to serve in his Cabinet, speculation grows about his possible successor.
Among the names mentioned to fill the seat Kerry has held since 1985 is Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who earlier this year was mentioned by Boston media as a potential candidate for governor. She denied such ambitions.
The Boston Globe points to her high-profile prosecution of former state Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi (D), who was convicted on corruption charges related to a kickback scheme in 2011. “Despite her lack of electoral experience,” the Globe’s Frank Phillips and Michael Levenson write, she has “gained the attention of the political world.”
She is also currently prosecuting James “Whitey” Bulger, former head of Boston’s Winter Hill gang. Bulger spent more than a decade on the run before he was arrested in the summer of 2011. He is charged with murdering 19 people.
Ortiz, who was confirmed as U.S. Attorney in 2009, is the first woman and first Latina to hold the top federal law enforcement position in Massachusetts. She is a longtime prosecutor in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office, working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1997 until her nomination to lead the office.
The opening all hinges on whether former Sen. Scott Brown (R) decides to throw his name into the mix. The popular Republican lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren last week in a race that got national attention. He’s indicated that his political career is not yet over.
“I’m hopeful we’ll be a more tolerant, open-minded party,” Brown said this week, according to the Globe. “I plan to continue to play a role of some sort. I don’t know what yet.”
The other candidate potentials are Democratic U.S. Reps. Edward J. Markey, Michael E. Capuano and Stephen F. Lynch.