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Patrick hints at pick for interim senator

As speculation continues to grow over whom Governor ­Deval Patrick may tap to be ­nterim US senator if Senator John F. Kerry is confirmed as secretary of state, the governor dropped a hint Thursday evening on the New England ­Cable News “Broadside” talk show.

When asked by host Jim Braude how high a priority appoint­ing a woman or person of color is, Patrick said that it was important.

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“It’s a priority,” he said, seeming to rule out former US representative Barney Frank, who has said earlier that he asked Patrick to appoint him to the interim seat.“But ­remember, the main event is the special election,” Patrick said.

“The interim senator serves for 4 or 4½ months; the elected senator serves the balance of this term and possibly for many terms after that.”

The governor said he does not yet know who the interim senator will be. “I’m narrowing the list,” he said. “We’re talking to a number of really capable people, and we’ll have a good person.”

An interim senator would serve until a special election can be held 145 days to 160 days from Kerry’s resignation.

Kerry was nominated to be the nation’s top diplomat by President Obama on Dec. 21 and is set to begin his confirmation hearing on Jan. 24.

Colin A. Young can be reached at Colin.Young@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter ­@ColinAYoung.
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