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Kerry nomination unleashes wave of speculation, pro forma statements

President Obama gave Massachusetts pols an early Christmas present on Friday: A chance to move up the ladder, provided that US Sen. John Kerry makes it through the confirmation process and lands at the State Department.

Names in circulation for the special election that will follow his likely confirmation and resignation include: Congressmen Michael Capuano (D-Somerville), Ed Markey (D-Malden) and Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston). State Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield) is also eyeing the race, and outgoing U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who remains popular in Massachusetts despite the Nov. 2012 loss to Elizabeth Warren, could attempt a return.

Capuano and Lynch both represent parts of Dorchester.

Capuano's office put a statement after a Reporter inquiry, saying the Somerville Democrat is back in the Bay State for the holidays:

Congressman Capuano is looking forward to spending the holidays with his family and talking with them about his future. Senator John Kerry has served the Commonwealth with great distinction and the Congressman knows he will be an excellent Secretary of State.

And sources tell National Journal that Lynch is talking to labor allies and expressing a desire to run in the special election:

A source close to Lynch who had spoken with him directly said Lynch had laid out his plan for victory: “He’s gonna work his [expletive] off. He thinks the big field will help him.”

“I’m in this race,” the source said Lynch told him.

Sources have said the same to the Reporter.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who will appoint an interim senator, said he does not plan to appoint someone until Kerry is confirmed. He again expressed his preference for an interim senator who does not plan to run in the special election.