Secretary John Kerry Could Mean Senator Barney Frank

Sen. John Kerry will be nominated Secretary of State, the White House confirmed Friday; if he’s confirmed, there will be a special election. LGBT advocates back the notion, with one saying it would be “a capstone to a remarkable career in Washington.”

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Rep. Barney Frank is retiring from Congress this year. Maybe.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Barney Frank serving in the United States Senate — albeit for a limited time — would be “a capstone to a remarkable career in Washington,” the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund’s vice president said Thursday.

The group works to get out LGBT people elected to office and appointed to executive branch positions and is still in the midst of coming off the celebration that followed the election of the first out LGBT person to the Senate, Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

But now, just when he appeared to be leaving Congress, Frank is leaving open the door to coming back — in the Senate.

He wouldn’t do so for a full term, Frank said in an interview with Politico, but he likewise wouldn’t rule out the possibility of doing so for a limited-time only — which he could do if Gov. Deval Patrick gave him a “placeholder” appointment until the special election for Sen. John Kerry’s Senate seat if Kerry is appointed the next secretary of state.

“The governor ought to be free to make whatever choices he makes. In Massachusetts, you’re talking about an interim, not a permanent appointment. I certainly would not take on any long-term appointment. As for an interim thing, I think accepting offers that haven’t been made is kind of presumptuous,” Frank said.

When Politico sought clarification as to whether that meant he would take such an interim appointment, Frank said his answer was “not a ‘no’ or a ‘yes.’ Rejecting an offer that hasn’t been made is also presumptuous.”

“His decades of service to Massachusetts certainly qualifies Barney Frank to represent his state in the Senate, if only as a capstone to a remarkable career in Washington,” the Victory Fund’s vice president for communications, Denis Dison, told BuzzFeed Thursday evening.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT rights group, echoed Dison’s comments.

“Barney Frank has had a distinguished career of public service and it speaks well of his dedication to our country that he would continue to be open to opportunities to serve the people of Massachusetts and the nation,” HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz said Thursday night.

Vickie Kennedy, Sen. Edward Kennedy’s widow, also has been discussed as a possible appointment should the seat become vacant due to a Kerry cabinet appointment.

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