Although an official announcement is not expected for a few days, reports are surfacing that President Obama will nominate Senator John Kerry as the new Secretary of State.
Kerry, who is currently the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will likely be replaced by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey on the committee.
According to the Sun Times, sources are saying that Obama has chosen the Massachusetts Senator to replace outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton. It was widely speculated that Kerry would get the nod after Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, removed her name from consideration earlier this week.
An official announcement could come as early as mid-week, although it may be delayed longer to avoid the impression of politics reflecting the Connecticut school shooting. The announcement may come as a high-profile package deal which will include the name of the new Secretary of Defense nominee. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is considered the front runner to replace Leon Panetta according to a CBS report.
A White House source told Reuters that the President met with Hagel on December 3rd to discuss the position. Vice President Joe Biden has also spoken to Hagel about the job.
If Kerry does indeed become Secretary of State, Democratic governor Deval Patrick will appoint someone to the Senate seat until a special election can be held. Patrick has reportedly already spoken to Edward Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy, about the appointment. Other names being mentioned are former Governor Michael Dukakis, retiring Congressman Barney Frank, and Charles Jay Ogletree, a former Harvard Law professor.
If Kennedy agrees to the appointment, it is doubtful many will decide to challenge her. Scott Brown is considered the top Republican who would mount a challenge, pointing to his farewell speech following his November loss to Democrat Elizabeth Warren where he said:
“Depending on what happens, and where we all go, all of us, we may obviously meet again.”