President Biden will nominate Representative Claire D. Cronin to be US ambassador to Ireland, turning to a loyal supporter and the second-ranking Democrat in the Massachusetts House to fill the coveted diplomatic post.
Cronin, 61, was a leading surrogate and a fund-raising bundler for Biden’s presidential bid in Massachusetts and appeared on national television during last summer’s Democratic National Convention when she cast the state’s nominating votes for him.
Her selection was foreshadowed weeks ago, after the website IrishCentral reported she was “set to soon be revealed” as Biden’s choice, fueling speculation about her future. At the time, two people with knowledge of the process told the Globe that the five-term lawmaker from Easton was being vetted by the Biden administration.
“I am deeply honored to be nominated by President Biden for ambassador to Ireland, especially given the President’s and my own Irish roots,” Cronin said in a statement released by the White House Wednesday. “If confirmed, I look forward to serving as ambassador and working with our partners in Ireland on both the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.”
Her selection could remix House Speaker Ronald Mariano’s relatively new leadership team. As the House’s majority leader, Cronin was the first woman to be named the chamber’s number two Democrat, and she has been viewed in the State House as a potential successor to Mariano.
Cronin previously chaired the Legislature’s judiciary committee, where she helped usher a sweeping criminal justice overhaul into law in 2018, and last year she was among the House’s chief negotiators on a high-profile police accountability bill.
Elected to the House in 2012, Cronin is also a lawyer and served as an arbitrator in a landmark Catholic clergy sexual-abuse settlement.
Cronin has been among a few people viewed as potential nominees for the post in Ireland, including former US senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Anne Finucane of Bank of America. If confirmed, she would live at an estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, surrounded by 62 acres of lawn and gardens. The property was once described by The New York Times as “one of Dublin’s most spectacular houses.”
She is among a second slate of ambassador nominees announced by the Biden administration, which last week unveiled picks for a series of sensitive posts in Mexico and Israel and at NATO.
Cronin is set to join a long list of former Massachusetts elected officials nominated to be diplomats.
Former governor Paul Cellucci left the State House to serve as President George W. Bush’s ambassador to Canada, just a few years after his predecessor, former governor Bill Weld, resigned after he was nominated by President Clinton to be ambassador to Mexico. (Weld ultimately withdrew after he was blocked from having a hearing by conservative Republicans in the US Senate.)
Former US senator Scott Brown served as ambassador to New Zealand in the Trump administration; former Boston mayor Ray Flynn was ambassador to the Holy See under Clinton; and former congressman and onetime gubernatorial candidate Brian Donnelly was named ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, also under Clinton.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story misstated Cronin’s role in a landmark Catholic clergy sexual abuse settlement. She was an arbitrator. The Globe regrets the error.