• More possible GOP hopefuls weigh Mass. Senate run


    BOSTON (AP) - The race for John Kerry's former U.S. Senate seat could be getting more crowded in the next few days as a slew of Massachusetts Republicans are considering jumping into the special election.

    Aides to state Sen. Bruce Tarr said the Gloucester Republican was "carefully weighing" a bid, while Governor's Council member Jennie Caissie, an Oxford Republican, said Wednesday she's also considering running.

    Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy Seal, has also expressed interest in the race.

    On Tuesday, Republican state Rep. Daniel Winslow announced he had formed an exploratory committee and said he was "99 percent there" when asked if he would run. Winslow, who served as legal counsel to former Gov. Mitt Romney, did not say when he would have a final decision.

    The primary is scheduled for April 30 and the special election will be held June 25. Kerry resigned from the Senate last week after being sworn in as the new U.S. Secretary of State.

    The flurry of possible GOP contenders follows decisions by higher profile Massachusetts Republicans not to get into the race, including former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, former Gov. William Weld, former state Sen. Richard Tisei and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey.

    Tarr, who heads the four-member Republican caucus in the state Senate, is "carefully weighing a decision and wants to do what is in the best interests of the party," said his spokeswoman, Lisa-Marie Cashman.

    Tarr will announce his decision on Monday, Cashman said.

    Caissie, a lawyer, is beginning her second term in the Governor's Council, which gives final approval to the governor's judicial nominees and members of the state parole board. Cassie has also served as a member of the Oxford board of selectmen since 2003.

    Cassie confirmed Wednesday that she's considering a Senate campaign.

    The race is also shaping up on the Democratic side.

    U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch have declared their candidacies and held kick-off events including tours of the state.

    During the special election process, the state will still have two senators in Congress.

    On Thursday, William "Mo" Cowan, will become the state's newest Senator, joining newly elected Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

    Cowan, Gov. Deval Patrick's former chief of staff, was appointed by the governor to fill the seat on an interim basis and is scheduled to be sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

    Cowan's tenure will be brief. He has said he won't be a candidate in the special election and plans to return to private life after the June 25 election.

    Brown, who lost to Warren last year and had been considering another Senate campaign, has begun to move on.

    Less than a week after announcing he wouldn't be a candidate in the Senate race, Brown joined the board of directors of Kadant Inc., a Westford-based paper company.

    Brown said he looked forward to "contributing to the future direction" of the company.

    Kadant president Jonathan Painter said the company welcomed the chance to draw on Brown's "wealth of experience on local, state, national and international issues."

    The company describes itself as a leading supplier to the global pulp and paper industry.

    Painter said another former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas, also served on our board of directors in the 1990s.

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