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Massachusetts: Lynch Still Weighing Bid for Senate

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Stephen F. Lynch said Wednesday night that he is still considering a special election run for the Senate, eyeing the seat expected to be vacated by Secretary of State nominee John Kerry.

“I am giving serious consideration to a run for the United States Senate and am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received in recent days,” he said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “As we await Senator Kerry’s confirmation hearings, I will continue to weigh my options and decide the best way to serve our communities.”

National Democrats — and Kerry himself — have worked to clear the Democratic field for the dean of the Bay State congressional delegation, Rep. Edward J. Markey, who plans to run. But that effort has, so far, been unsuccessful, with Lynch, Rep. Michael E. Capuano and state Sen. Benjamin Downing all still considering a bid.

Insiders say Markey would be the strong favorite in any one-on-one matchup with another Democrat, but in a primary with multiple candidates the outcome would probably be more uncertain. In any case, Democrats in Washington hope Markey can avoid a primary challenge and focus his resources on the general election. Kerry, along the with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and others, have already endorsed Markey.

Lynch, the most socially conservative Massachusetts congressman, has strong union backing and a good base of support in the Boston area. But whether he could expand his base remains a question. Lynch had only $740,000 in the bank on Nov. 26; Markey had $3.1 million.

Lynch won a special election primary in 2001 against six other Democrats with 39 percent of the vote. Representing a safely Democratic seat, he’s never faced a serious challenge since.

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