Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has tapped a former aide to succeed Sen. John Kerry, who's been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the next U.S. Secretary of State. Patrick's office says he's chosen William 'Mo' Cowan to serve as the state's interim senator until a special election is held June 25 to vote on a candidate to fill out the rest of Kerry's term.
Cowan is Patrick's former chief of staff and chief legal counsel. In a statement, the governor said "Mo's service on the front lines in our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the next generation has earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout government. The people of the Commonwealth have benefited from his wisdom and good judgment during his time in our office, and will again in the Senate."
Cowan will become the second African-American to currently serve in the U.S. Senate, and neither won their seats by direct election. As NPR's Brakkton Booker reported, North Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley chose fellow Republican and Rep. Tim Scott, an African-American, to serve out the rest of the term of retiring senator Jim DeMint.
The choice of Cowan dashes the hopes of retired Democratic Rep. Barney Frank, who'd directly asked Patrick for the appointment, notes the Huffington Post.