Affleck: Thanks, but no thanks

Democrats in Massachusetts found a lump of coal in their special-election stocking on Christmas Eve this year.  There had been some speculation that Ben Affleck might jump into the race to replace John Kerry, now the official nominee to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and save Democrats from the specter of another Scott Brown special-election victory.  Affleck dumped cold water on those hopes in a Facebook posting, caught by Twitchy:

I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office. Right now it’s a privilege to spend my time working with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), supporting our veterans, drawing attention to the great many who go hungry in the U.S. everyday and using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran.

We are about to get a great Secretary of State and there are some phenomenal candidates in Massachusetts for his Senate seat. I look forward to an amazing campaign.

Happy Holidays to All.

(Make sure to visit Feeding America & A-T Children’s Project & Paralyzed Veterans of America)

ABC reported on raised hopes for an Affleck bid based on recent comments, where the actor/director seemed to leave the door open to a run for office:

Chatter around a possible run went into overdrive Sunday when during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” the Cambridge native decidedly did not rule it out saying, “One never knows. I’m not one to get into conjecture.”

This puts an end to conjecture, and leaves Democrats in a tight spot.  Brown lost to Elizabeth Coakley last month in a bid to retain the seat he won in 2010’s special election, but that was in a presidential cycle with an incumbent Democrat at the top of the ticket.  Brown came out of nowhere to beat Martha Coakley almost three years ago, but he’s well-known and well-liked now.  None of the likely Democratic candidates come close in recent polling to beating Brown in a special election, and without someone with Affleck’s star power, the seat looks very much at risk.

So … second look at Ted Kennedy’s widow?

As for some of those candidates on the list, Gov. Deval Patrick is likely to appoint a replacement to fill Kerry’s seat in the interim period. Former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, as well as Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Ted Kennedy, are on Patrick’s list, according to reports.

ABC’s a little behind on its reporting.  Dukakis has also said no to both an appoint to and a run for the seat over a week ago.  Mrs. Kennedy would make an interesting placeholder, but she has not expressed any interest in the seat.  And the next-most-likely Kennedy doesn’t want it either:

After giving it serious consideration, Ted Kennedy Jr. has decided not to run for Massachusetts’ soon-to-be open seat in the U.S. Senate.

“Over the last several days, many people have asked that I consider running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts,” Kennedy said in a statement obtained by CNN. “I am extremely grateful for all the offers of support that I have received.

“As a healthcare lawyer and disability rights activist who was raised to believe in public service, I have always had an interest in public policy development, advocacy and political action. Although I have a strong desire to serve in public office, I consider Connecticut to be my home, and hope to have the honor to serve at another point in my future.”

Kennedy is the son of the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, and had been urged by friends and some Democratic leaders to run for Sen. John Kerry’s seat, which is expected to open up next year.

Neither Hollywood nor the Kennedys are interested, it seems.  That leaves Democrats looking at a tough special election next year, and Massachusetts Republicans harboring a flicker of hope again.

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