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The Boston Globe

Politics

Marisa DeFranco joins supporters in asking Deval Patrick to appoint her interim senator

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Marisa DeFranco addressed the 2012 Democratic State Convention in Springfield last June.

Governor Deval Patrick went a long way toward keeping Democrat Marisa DeFranco off last year’s US Senate ballot, but the Middleton immigration attorney is hoping he’ll take a different view of her if and when it comes time to appoint a temporary replacement to Senator John Kerry.

DeFranco told the Globe today that she supports a petition effort aimed at lobbying Patrick to make her the interim senator if Kerry resigns, as expected, to become secretary of state.

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“Yes, it does,” DeFranco said in a Twitter exchange after she was asked if her tweeting of the petition link indicated her interest in the appointment.

In the tweet, DeFranco wrote: “Jean Palmer, a most wonderful supporter of my last campaign started this petition. Thank you Jean!”

A statement accompanying the petition states: “Marisa DeFranco was the only candidate in the Massachusetts US Senate race last year, out of a field of six candidates, who had the courage to go the distance to give the people of Massachusetts a real choice and a real opportunity to hear about many issues in a grass roots campaign. She and her volunteers collected more than 14,600 certified signatures (10,000 were required). Marisa DeFranco ran a clean money and true grassroots campaign.”

The petition statement goes on to say “she was denied ballot access not by the voters, but by a miniscule number of members of the Democratic state party at a real circus of a state convention.”

Last May, the governor broke with his personal precedent by endorsing Elizabeth Warren despite there being a contested primary for the Democrats’ US Senate nomination against the Republican incumbent, then-Senator Scott Brown.

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At the time, Patrick said he still expected DeFranco to gain enough delegate support during the coming weekend’s state party convention in Springfield to win a spot on the primary ballot.

The claim belied the fact that the governor exerts tremendous influence over operations by the party, whose chairman is John Walsh, Patrick’s 2006 campaign manager.

When the roll was ultimately called, the delegates denied DeFranco the 15-percent minimum she needed to get on the fall ballot. Warren became the de facto nominee, and went on to beat Brown in November.

She was sworn into the Senate on Jan. 3. Kerry is expected to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton by the end of the month. The interim senator will serve until a special election can be held 145 days to 160 days from Kerry’s resignation.

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

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