Democrats seeking Ted Kennedy’s widow to run for vacant Senate seat in Mass.

Vicki Kennedy and the late Ted Kennedy

Top Massachusetts Democrats, and even President Obama himself, may be looking to nudge Ted Kennedy’s widow Vicki Kennedy into considering a run for the Senate seat that will be open if Senator John Kerry takes up the position of Secretary of State.

The Boston Herald reports on the looming new race for Massachusetts senator, which will be the state’s third in just two years. While Vicki Kennedy has reportedly said she has no interest in taking the seat, some believe it may just take a bit of coaxing.

Democratic consultant Scott Ferson said, “I’m sure the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going to poll, and if they feel like they need to bigfoot somebody, they will.”

A top Massachusetts Democrat said that both President Obama and Senate President Harry Reid could turn to pressuring local Democrats to ensure that Scott Brown, a Republican, is beaten in the race. The pressure could be focused on nudging Kennedy to run.

“I think Brown is going to be tough to beat, and the president is the only one who could kind of fix this,” the Democrat said. “It seems to me a pretty weak field. If you’re a national Democrat, you don’t want a primary where whoever wins is going to be broke and then face Brown.”

On Christmas Eve, two potential candidates with big names - Edward Kennedy, Jr and Ben Affleck - made it clear that they will not be making a run for the Senate seat.

Other possible Democratic candidates include U.S. Reps Michael E. Capuano, Stephen Lynch and Edward J. Markey, as well as state Sen. Ben Downing.

Democratic operative Jim Roosevelt said, “I’m sure she [Vicki] would think long and hard about a request from the president of the United States,” Roosevelt said. 

However, Roosevelt also added that the matter “is very personal for her. ... She’s been pretty clear that this is not what she sees herself doing.”

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia pointed out a how a big name could be a helpful tactic in the race:“Obviously they don’t have to worry about spending money for name recognition, and she’s got a lot of connections in Washington to help her fund-raise. A lot of these congressmen just aren’t known beyond their district,” Sabato said.

Sabato also added, though, “Generally speaking, reluctant candidates make bad candidates. You have to be all in.”

Congressman Ed Markey, a 66-year-old veteran pol announced Thursday he was in the race.

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