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Dukakis says Senate appointment ‘unlikely’

Former Governor Michael S. Dukakis declined this afternoon to completely rule out a temporary appointment to the US Senate, though he called it unlikely because of a teaching obligation.

“I’m heading for the West on the 26th of December and I start teaching the week after,” Dukakis said, when asked if he was interested in an appointment to fill John Kerry’s seat if, as expected, Kerry becomes secretary of state. “It’s highly unlikely in any event. I’m committed to teaching.”

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When Dukakis was reminded by a Globe reporter that his denial of interest was not an absolute no, he said, “That’s what I have to say.”

Pressed again for an unequivocal answer, he said, “It’s not going to happen.”

For years, Dukakis, 79, has taught at UCLA during the spring semester, while maintaining his residence in Brookline.

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Dukakis, who was interviewed at the Massachusetts State House following the official vote of the state’s members of the Electoral College, said he had not received any feelers or contacts from President Obama or Governor Deval Patrick. Patrick would make the temporary appointment to replace Kerry. Whoever is appointed would serve for between 145 and 160 days under state law, before a special election is held.

During a previous vacancy in 2009, following the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Dukakis’s name was floated prominently as a potential replacement. The appointment ultimately went to Paul Kirk.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.
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