BOSTON (AP) — The Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren lawn signs are still dotting the landscape, but in politics-obsessed Massachusetts, speculation is already turning to the next election — or two.
The first is the 2014 race for governor. Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has pledged not to seek a third term, leaving an open campaign for the state's top elected office.
The second hinges on whether President Barack Obama taps Sen. John Kerry to serve as secretary of state. That would prompt yet another Senate election in Massachusetts, after this year's contest and the 2010 special election. If Kerry remains in the Senate, he faces a re-election campaign in 2014.
Given the drubbing Massachusetts Republicans suffered this week — losing not only the U.S. Senate race, but a close contest in the 6th Congressional District and a handful of Statehouse seats — much of the political chatter is focused on how the party can regain its footing.
Peter Blute, the party's deputy chairman, said it's too early to start writing political obituaries. He blamed the losses on a "wave election" where energized Democrats turned out in droves for the presidential and Senate contests.
Massachusetts has strong Republican candidates, Blute said, including Brown, still one of the most popular Republicans in the state despite his loss Tuesday.
Blute pointed to others potential GOP candidates, including former gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker; Richard Tisei, who lost the 6th District contest to Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. John Tierney; and state Rep. Daniel Winslow, chief legal counsel for then-Gov. Mitt Romney.
Another potential candidate is former Gov. William Weld, who recently moved back to Massachusetts to take a job as partner with the Mintz Levin law firm.
Weld was on the campaign trail the Sunday before Election Day, cheering Brown on and casting the election as a battle of "man vs. machine."
"Bill Weld would be a great candidate," Blute said. "He had style and aplomb and people remember that."
Democrats have an equally deep political team.
Among possible candidates for governor are state Treasurer Steven Grossman, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray and Attorney General Martha Coakley. The list of possible Democratic candidates for an open Senate seat may be an even longer, including many members of the U.S. House, such as Rep. Michael Capuano.
And even though he was just elected to his first term in the state's 4th Congressional District, Joseph Kennedy III can't be dismissed as a possible Senate hopeful given how much weight the Kennedy name still holds in Massachusetts.
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