Patrick Kennedy, the newly retired former U.S. representative is backing former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy in a potential bid for Scot Brown’s Senate seat, after Vicki Kennedy declared she would not be running in the election.

“I think Joe is immensely capable and talented,” Patrick Kennedy told the Boston Herald.

“He would certainly be a great candidate, and I’d be thrilled to support him.”

Ms Kennedy’s announcement on Tuesday signaled the removal of a very strong candidate which in turn has left an opening in the left side of the upcoming race.

It has also increased the pressure for other potential runners such as Gov. Deval Patrick.

Gov. Patrick has “got everything you would need to wage a successful race against (Brown),”
according to Democratic consultant Mary Ann Marsh. “He’s run statewide twice, he’s got an organization, and his upcoming book tour would only help his race.”

However the Governor ruled out running for the seat in a recent interview with the Boston Globe.

“In the absence of (Vicki), I don’t believe (Democrats) have an attractive candidate unless Patrick wants to run. Patrick has proven himself to be a popular politician. He would be formidable,” says Marc Landy, a political professor at Boston College.

A former congressman, Patrick Kennedy still has $2 million in his federal campaign account.
Confidants of Kennedy’s dismiss rumors of a Brown challenge yesterday.

Democratic Chairman John Walsh said his focus was on fresh blood and not potential big named candidates.

“People have their own criteria for what’s a strong challenger. I’m not someone who believes it has to be a traditional candidate,” said Walsh,

“The only thing we can predict is we will have a good candidate. I suspect we’ll have a primary.”
Names being dropped as potential runners include U.S. Reps. Michael E. Capuano and Edward Markey, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and Robert C. Pozen.

Eric Schultz, the  spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said that Democrats would be targeting Brown’s race.

“We believe Scott Brown is one of the most vulnerable members of the United State Senate and will face a very tough challenge next November,” he told the Boston Globe.

But the former Congressman Martin T. Meehan said that challenging Brown will be a tall order.

“Scott Brown will be a very formidable opponent . . . he’s well financed, he’s very popular with independent voters, so the first challenge is to avoid a tough primary,” Meehan said.