With state Senator Katherine M. Clark favored to become the newest member of Congress, speculation is quickly building in the Melrose Democrat’s legislative district about who might bid for her seat if she heads to Washington.
In the aftermath of Clark’s win Oct. 15 in the primary to replace Edward M. Markey — who moved to the Senate after John Kerry became secretary of state in February — a host of names are mentioned as potential contenders in a special election to succeed her. Several — including three of Clarks’ legislative colleagues — said they are weighing runs for the Fifth Middlesex seat, which encompasses Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, and portions of Winchester.
The potential candidates include three Democratic state representatives: Paul Brodeur of Melrose; Christopher G. Fallon of Malden; and Jason M. Lewis of Winchester.
“I’m thinking about it very seriously,” said Brodeur, who succeeded Clark when she won the Senate seat in 2010. “The focus was on helping Katherine get elected. We got into city government together. I couldn’t be happier for my district. Now I’ve got to decide for myself.”
“I think I’d do a good job, but I love the job I have,” added Brodeur, who is in his second term. “So I have to balance that and come up with a decision.”
Lewis is serving his third term as the state representative for Stoneham and Winchester. “I’m happy representing my House district and I’m looking forward to helping Katherine win the election on Dec. 10,” he said. “I have been encouraged to run for her state Senate seat should it open up. I would certainly give that serious consideration at that time.”
“I am going to talk to my family and friends . . . and make a decision no later than the end of the month,” said Fallon, who has been a state representative since 1997. “I very much enjoy representing the people of Malden right now, so it would be a difficult decision for me. But we are going to talk about it, have some earnest discussions.”
Clark, a former state representative and Melrose School Committee member, is strongly favored over the GOP nominee, Frank J. Addivinola Jr. of Boston, in the Dec. 10 special election for the Fifth District congressional seat. But the district has traditionally voted heavily Democratic, strongly backing Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012, for example.
Laura K. Oggeri, a spokeswoman for state Senate President Therese Murray, said that any decisions regarding a special election for Clark’s state Senate post would only be made if Murray wins the Dec. 10 contest.
A special election would mark only the third time the seat would be open in 23 years.
The district is viewed as a competitive battleground between the two major parties. Prior to Clark winning the seat in 2010, it was held by Wakefield Republican Richard R.Tisei for 20 years; before that, it was held by Malden Democrat John A. Brennan Jr. from 1974 to 1990.
Craig Spadafora, a Malden Republican and councilor at large who lost to Clark in 2010, said he is giving some thought to running again if the seat becomes open.
“I always thought if there was an opportunity I might consider it, and I’m considering it,” said Spadafora, who is in the midst of seeking reelection to his City Council seat.
As was the case last time, he said a factor that interests him in running is that “Malden is a big part of the district,” observing that until Tisei, “it was a Malden seat.” As a Republican, he said, he could help restore party balance on Beacon Hill.
David D’Arcangelo, another Malden councilor at large and Republican, is also weighing a run. “I’m trying to work with other people who are interested in representing this district to find out who will be able to run during this shortened process,” said D’Arcangelo, who was an aide to Tisei when he was a state senator.
Paul John Maisano, a Stoneham Democrat and former selectman who ran unsuccessfully in the congressional primary, said he is mulling a run for the Senate seat.
“Not only on the federal level do we have a lot of chaos, but we need to do work on the state level,” he said, citing fiscal issues in particular.
Greg Lucey, a Malden Democrat and councilor at large, said he would not rule out running, noting that the Senate seat does not become open often.
But Lucey noted that he decided not to seek reelection to his council seat this year to spend more time with his family, and that desire also would be a major factor in any decision about running for Senate.
Among others mentioned as possible candidates, Wakefield Democrat and Selectman Tiziano Doto — who lost a bid for Middlesex Register of Deeds in 2012 — said: “I never rule anything out, but I certainly don’t anticipate running.”
Former state representative Paul C. Casey, a Winchester Democrat, did not rule out a run but said it would be a “difficult mountain to climb” since only part of his town is in the district. He added, though, “Stoneham always treated me like one of its own.”
David Lucas, a Melrose Republican who lost a bid for Clark’s old House seat in 2010, said: “I’m interested. I wouldn’t say we are seriously considering it at this point, but I’m always interested.”
Monica Medeiros, a Melrose Republican and Ward 2 alderwoman, said she is focused on her campaign for an alderwoman-at-large seat, but she did not close the door on a run for Senate.
“I will do whatever I can to make Melrose a better and more affordable place to live,” said Medeiros, who also ran unsuccessfully in the 2010 House race.
Four prominent Democrats who have been mentioned said they are not running: Malden Mayor Gary Christenson; Melrose Mayor Robert J. Dolan; Winchester town manager and former Malden mayor Richard C. Howard; and former state representative Michael E. Festa of Melrose.
“Although I am humbled by those who have approached me in the last few days to consider the Senate seat, I have not even considered the position and remain focused on continuing to serve the people of Malden as their mayor,” Christenson said by e-mail. “It will be interesting to observe who does show an interest in the open seat, but I know my criteria for evaluating any potential candidates will be their support of Malden. Senator Clark has done a great job representing us and her shoes will be hard to fill.”
“I will not be a candidate. I love being mayor of Melrose,” Dolan said, calling it “the best job I could have in government.”
Howard said he is “not even remotely” thinking of running, noting, “I have the job that I want.”
Festa, who is currently Massachusetts state director of the AARP, said he is “absolutely not running, because I have a position at AARP and I love the job,” noting also that a requirement of his position is that he not engage in partisan activities.
John Laidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.