Alan Khazei, the 48-year-old cofounder of City Year, the nationwide community service program for young adults, plans to pull nomination papers this morning for the Democratic primary race for US Senate.Khazei had been eyeing the race, but this is the surest sign of his interest in actually getting into the contest to fill the seat held for 47 years by the late Edward M. Kennedy. His supporters plan to pick up papers this morning and immediately begin collecting signatures in Boston Common.
City Year co-founder Alan Khazei (D) will run in the special election for the seat long held by Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy (D), he confirmed in an e-mail to friends and colleagues this morning.”Because like all of you, I have dedicated myself to empowering people from all backgrounds to make a difference and strengthen our democracy, today a group of citizens is picking up petitions and helping me take the necessary steps to participate in the special election in Massachusetts,” wrote Khazei.
He also announced he would be taking a leave of absence from “Be the Change”, a volunteer-oriented organization he heads to pursue the race.
As the first relatively big name candidate in the race from outside of electoral politics, it will be interesting to see if he’s able to carve out an anti-elected official niche, which is probably more difficult to do in a Democratic primary than a Republican primary.
Elsewhere, it looks like the proposal to empower the Governor to make an interim appointment until the special election occurs, in order to limit the lapse in full representation in the U.S. Senate, will pass or fail largely on whether the state House Speaker and state Senate President push hard for it:
House and Senate lawmakers are deeply divided over whether to give Governor Deval Patrick the authority to appoint an interim US senator to Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, even as top Democrats ramp up their lobbying for a measure that could come up for a vote as early as Thursday. …But with the level of support in the House and Senate uncertain, the fate of the legislation may well depend on how hard Murray and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo advocate for it. Both have been meeting behind closed doors, but have remained publicly noncommittal.
“They can pressure all they want, but until DeLeo and Therese Murray are decided on what they want, it’s basically moot,” state Representative John Binienda, a Worcester Democrat who opposes the change, said of proponents of the change. “Let’s face it: If they decide either way, that’s the way that it will be pushed. If they decide they want it to pass, the bill will not be put forth into either chamber until they have the votes.”
State Attorney General Martha Coakley, also a candidate in the special election, has announced her support for the temporary appointment and is believed to carry sway with the state Senate President, who is an honorary chairwoman of Attorney General Coakley’s finance committee.
UPDATE: Both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald are reporting that Congressman Stephen Lynch, the most conservative member of the U.S. House delegation from Massachusetts, has dropped out of the running, citing the “insurmountable” challenge of putting together the statewide organization necessary to be competitive.
Khazei would be a great addition to the Senate, and I like that he’s younger. One lesson progressives learned from Ted Kennedy is that if you want to build power in the Senate you need to elect young progressives. But honestly, with Lynch out I’m fine with anyone. Coakley, Khazei or Capuano would all do Massacusets proud. Hopefully a competitive race between them can push them all as far left as possible so we get a REALLY good Senator from Massachusetts who’s publicly committed to strong health reform that includes good subsides and a public option as well as card check and strong climate change legislation.
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