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(UPDATED) Reports say Lynch to join race to replace Sen. Kerry, Lynch disagrees

Congressman Stephen Lynch is expected to make official next week what has been widely apparent: He's running in the Senate special election slated for later this year, though he told the Boston Herald Friday afternoon that he remains undecided.

WCVB's Janet Wu reported this morning that Lynch (D-South Boston) will announce after U.S. Sen. John Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State, which is expected to happen next week.

This isn't a surprise to close political observers. Mayor Thomas Menino told New England Cable News on Tuesday, "I believe he'll get into the race. You'll have a Markey/Lynch primary and … so the two of them will go at each other and I think you'll see Lynch announce right after the confirmation of John Kerry." And Jim O'Sullivan, a National Journal reporter and Dorchester Reporter alum, wrote on Dec. 20 that Lynch has been telling his supporters he'll be jumping in. O'Sullivan reported earlier this month that Ed Jesser, a Menino adviser, has been helping Lynch out.

Congressman Ed Markey (D-Malden) has already announced he's in the race, and has been steadily rolling out endorsements, including lawmakers in his Fifth Congressional District. Treasurer Steven Grossman and Attorney General Martha Coakley, two statewide Democrats, announced their support for his campaign earlier this week. Kerry, Vicki Kennedy and the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee voiced their support in December.

In a statement, state Democratic Party chair John Walsh said, ""The Massachusetts Democratic Party has a deep pool of talent and I believe the more voters see how effective our candidates are the better for us and for the Commonwealth. In the coming weeks, a healthy and substantive primary campaign will give voters all across Massachusetts a chance to learn more about our candidates and our ideas. If there is a primary, the Massachusetts Democratic Party will endorse no candidate and we will remain focused on building a grassroots coordinated campaign to support whoever becomes our nominee to keep John Kerry's ideas and values moving forward.""

This post was updated at 1:30 p.m. with the Herald link. Further updated at 2:13 p.m. with Democratic Party chair's statement.