It’s cable catnip — but apparently nothing more than that.
Representative Barney Frank today dismissed weekend TV chatter that he could be a candidate for the US Senate against Republican Scott Brown, if there’s a special election in Massachusetts.
Any such campaign would be a national spectacle, featuring one of the most prominent liberal Democrats against a conservative favorite both in and out of the state.
“If I wanted to stay in Congress, why wouldn’t I prefer being a senior member of the House rather than the most junior member of the Senate?” Frank said to the Globe today.
The Newton Democrat did not run for reelection this fall and is slated to retire from Congress in January. In the future, Frank said, he plans to deliver speeches, write books, and teach.
“I’m tired after 45 years — emotionally — and I’m ready for change,” the 72-year-old said.
The state would have to hold a special election if Senator John Kerry were to resign to join the Obama administration. The Democrat reportedly is under consideration either for secretary of state or secretary of defense.
Brown won a 2010 special election to replace the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, but he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren on Nov. 6 in his bid to secure a full, six-year Senate term.
Brown has demurred on whether he would run again in a special election, but many Republicans feel he would be their best chance to win. Conversely, some Democrats believe Warren was the party’s best current Senate candidate, so they are searching for a formidable candidate should Kerry resign.
One of Frank’s colleagues, Representative Michael Capuano, has indicated he would be interested in running.
Asked if he could beat Brown in a head-to-head match, Frank dismissed the query.
“That’s not a relevant question,” he said. “That’s just hot-stove nonsense.”
As for his future, the retiring congressman said: “I’ve always wanted to write. I very much want to be a participant in the public policy debate, but at this point, I’d like to do it without any ongoing public responsibility. I’ll get more writing done not marching in parades.”Glen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.