Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick officially announced on Wednesday his decision to appoint his former chief of staff, Mo Cowan, as the interim Massachusetts senator following Sen. John Kerry's confirmation as secretary of state on Tuesday. Cowan will serve until June 25, when Massachussetts' will hold a special election.
Cowan, who is also the chief legal counsel to Governor Patrick, has served in the Patrick administration since 2009. In a press release, Patrick applauded Cowan's leadership.
"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 one of two African Americans serving in the Senate, joining South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, who was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley.
Cowan pledged to the people of Massachusetts, "during this interim period I will work as hard as humanly possible to perform my duties with the needs and aspirations of our state's citizens foremost in mind."
After President Obama nominated Kerry, msnbc's Lawrence O'Donnell asked his audience to convince Deval Patrick of a worthy candidate for the job. O'Donnell made a case for former Congressman Barney Frank as the Massachusetts' next appointed senator.
Frank, who had said that he wanted the appointment, released a statement Wednesday.
"I know Mr. Cowan is committed to working hard and in socially-fair and economically-efficient manner toward resolving pending budget issues. I now look forward to working for the election of Ed Markey to continue this work, and to providing President Obama the support he deserves in carrying out the mandate he received in November."
With Kerry's resignation and Cowan's appointment, newly elected Sen. Elizabeth Warren will become the senior senator from Massachusetts, a rank once held by Senators Ted Kennedy and Kerry.
"I am very pleased to welcome Mo Cowan to the Senate," Warren said in a statement. "As former chief of staff to Governor Patrick, Mo brings a deep knowledge of the issues facing the people of our Commonwealth to the Senate. He will be a committed, hardworking interim Senator, and I look forward to working closely with him to protect the interests of Massachusetts families."
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Massachusetts shows ousted Senator Scott Brown leading Democrat Ed Markey 48% to 45% in a possible special election match up to fill the seat of Sen. John Kerry. However, in November 2012, 69% of the voters currently undecided voted for Elizabeth Warren, while only 17% of them voted for Brown.
Republicans officials close to Scott Brown have told the AP that he's ''leaning strongly toward running'' in the special election and could enter the race as early as next week.