EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 17, 2012

Meehan says he won't run to replace Kerry in Senate

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — He spent 14 years in Congress and still has a $4.6 million campaign war chest, but Martin Meehan said he is not interested in running for U.S. Senate should Sen. John Kerry be appointed by the Obama administration as the next Secretary of State.

Instead of returning to Washington D.C., Meehan, 55, of Lowell, said he wants to remain focused in his role as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts of Lowell, a job he has held since in 2007.

“This has come up in the past,” said Meehan, when asked about running for Kerry’s seat. “No ... When I came to UMass, I wanted to make a difference. It takes some time. While we’ve had some successes, I’m not thinking of leaving to go back into politics in Washington.”

Meehan, the father of two young boys, believes many are interested in the job, including former Republican Senator Scott Brown who lost his seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in November.

Obama seems poised to nominate Kerry, 69, to replaced former Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state in the near future. The prospects for the five-term senator soared last week when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, a top contender for the job, withdrew from consideration to avoid a fierce fight with Senate Republicans.

Kerry’s nominations has been discussed with congressional leaders and consultations between the White House and congressional Democrats have centered around the fate of his Senate seat, the Associated Press reported.

Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire, said of Kerry “there’s no question he has a very strong depth of knowledge of these issues. Certainly qualified.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has taken to jokingly referring to Kerry as “Mr. Secretary.”

He’s not interested now, but Meehan is not ruling out a political run in the future. Some $4.65 million remains in his campaign account, money he can tap into for charitable donations and federal political donations, he said.

He’s well aware of the “dysfunction” right now in politics at the federal level and expressed disinterest in jumping back into that environment. The longer he works in his role as chancellor the less he misses politics, he said.

He also said he didn’t want to be apart from his family. “I really don’t miss it,” he said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.