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Barney Frank Denied Interim Senator Post

William Cowan, a former aide to Governor Deval Patrick, will represent Massachusetts

Adam Chandler
January 31, 2013
Barney Frank(AP)

Barney Frank(AP)

Representative Barney Frank’s hopes for a short respite from his short-lived retirement hit a speed bump yesterday when Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick named William Cowan as newly-confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry’s replacement in the Senate. Frank, who earlier this month left the House of Representatives after 32 years, had lobbied to hold Kerry’s seat for three months before the state would hold a special election.

If the Bayonne-born Frank was upset about it, he didn’t let on.

“If I wanted to talk about feelings, I would have called Oprah,” Frank told The Hill on Wednesday when asked his feelings about being overlooked for the appointment.

As for interim Senator Cowan, his stay on Capitol Hill will be brief.

Mr. Cowan, 43, who is known as Mo, is a former partner in the politically connected law firm of Mintz Levin and will become Massachusetts’ first black senator since Edward Brooke, a Republican, held the seat from 1966 to 1978. His appointment makes Mr. Cowan the second black member to be seated in the current Senate, after Tim Scott of South Carolina was appointed by Gov. Nikki R. Haley.

Mr. Patrick had said he wanted to appoint someone who did not want to run for the seat later because that person would have to conduct a campaign while learning the ropes in the Senate, and would be unlikely to do either job well. At a packed news conference at the State House, Mr. Cowan said he would not seek the permanent office or use the appointment as a springboard later. “This is going to be a very short political career,” he vowed.

Should Frank be looking for something to do during retirement, the Scroll is always in want of contributors with razor sharp wit.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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