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Meehan meets with Kerry, but denies any talk of Senate campaign

Martin T. Meehan, a former congressman who now heads UMass Lowell, met with Senator John Kerry today in his Washington office, but both men deny any discussion about Meehan running in a special election that might be needed to fill Kerry’s seat.

Instead, Meehan and Kerry say they spoke about new campus the university is establishing in Kuwait and publicly unveiling next week.

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“I’m very happy with the university,” Meehan said in a telephone interview from the capital. “We’re building new buildings, our national rankings are going up, and I’m going to continue to work on our strategic plan at the university.”

Kerry said in a statement: “Every time I meet with Marty he’s got more and more terrific developments to report about UMass Lowell. Today we touched base about everything from a new degree program they’re starting in Kuwait to their new state-of-the-art science building. He’s really been a visionary in building up their international presence. He’s passionate about this place and he’s been an absolute dynamo.”

Asked how much time the two spent talking about a potential Senate campaign, Meehan said, “None. It never came up.”

The chancellor said he had a series of other meetings, including one with officials from the National Science Foundation. He was having dinner with former congressional colleagues, he added.

Kerry is said to be under consideration for a post in President Obama’s second term Cabinet, either as secretary of state or secretary of defense.

Were he to accept such a job, he would have to resign from the Senate, triggering a special election to replace him. Governor Deval Patrick would also have to name a temporary replacement until the special election is completed.

Meehan, 55, is a fellow Democrat who served in the House from January 1993 until July 2007, when he resigned to take over leadership of his alma mater.

He would be among a number of potential strong special election candidates, given his campaign and legislative records, and a prodigious fund-raising ability that has left him with $5 million in his campaign account.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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