Just a year ago, incoming Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg was able to tamp down a minor scandal when he instructed his fiancé to stay out of the internal affairs of the Senate and when the fiancé subsequently quit his job at a politically connected public relations firm.
But now, 28-year-old Bryon Hefner is back, seriously considering running for a seat in the chamber — a move that would put him right in the middle of Rosenberg’s professional life.
Hefner, who lives with Rosenberg in a Beacon Hill condominium and shares a home with him in Amherst, is debating running as a Democrat for the seat that Senator Anthony Petruccelli is vacating, according to a Senate insider.
Hefner did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Globe. But on Monday afternoon Politico Massachusetts quoted Hefner saying, “I am strongly considering running to maintain the seat at the table for the First Suffolk and Middlesex District.”
Rosenberg’s office said the Senate president would have no comment.
A Hefner candidacy would put Rosenberg in an awkward political position. Senate presidents traditionally stay out of Democratic primaries for open seats, but Rosenberg would be under pressure to support Hefner and raise money for his campaign.
It also puts Petruccelli in a tough spot. His future lobbying career on Beacon Hill depends on his close relationship with Rosenberg and his Senate colleagues. Any pressure from Rosenberg to help Hefner’s candidacy would run up against Petruccelli’s political roots in East Boston, which have drawn him into supporting his close friend, Representative Adrian Madaro.
This is the second seat Hefner has talked about seeking, the Senate source said. Not long ago, Hefner was telling Amherst activists that he might even run against Rosenberg, with whom he’s had at an at-times strained relationship.
The Globe reported late last year that Hefner had tried to use his personal relationship with Rosenberg to wield influence in the Senate’s internal business, including talking to senators about the selection of committee chairmanships. He had also insulted outgoing Senate President Therese Murray when he portrayed her as a witch on social media.
Hefner was also forced to leave his job as an account executive at Regan Communications, a major Boston public relations firm headed by the politically wired George Regan. The company had at the time bragged in its promotional material of its Beacon Hill connections.
Hefner also created a buzz in political circles earlier this year when he was setting up plans for his marriage to Rosenberg. He had even gotten a commitment from Republican Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, a one-time staunch opponent of gay marriage, to officiate at the ceremony, and a registry for wedding gifts appeared online.
There has been no public announcement that the wedding has taken place.
Hefner recently returned from a Senate trip to Israel, on which he accompanied Rosenberg.
Petruccelli, an East Boston Democrat, who is serving his fifth two-year term, announced last week that he is leaving to join a Beacon Hill lobbying firm. No date has been set for a special election. Secretary of State William F. Galvin has suggested leaving the seat vacant until next fall’s regular elections, a move that would save the state about $130,000 and the cities and towns in the district tens of thousands of dollars to run a special election.
Petruccelli’s decision has set off a scramble in the overwhelmingly Democratic district. Among those looking to run are: State Representative Jay Livingstone of Beacon Hill; Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo, who was defeated last month for re-election; and Madaro of East Boston.
Democrat Representative Aaron M. Michlewitz of the North End, considered one of the early favorites, particularly with his well-stocked campaign account, announced Monday he would not seek the Senate seat.Frank Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.