Gov. Deval Patrick joined The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Thursday to explain his choice for the next interim U.S. senator of Massachusetts to replace John Kerry.
In his first national interview since choosing his former chief of staff William “Mo” Cowan, Patrick said many factors played into his final decision.
“I think he’s going to be a great steward of the interest of the people of the commonwealth for the next few months until the main event, which is the special election when the people fill that seat,” said Patrick. He described Cowan as “uncommonly wise and thoughtful,” a person who constantly strives to serve the community.
Patrick’s appointment made history: Cowan and Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will now become the first two African-American senators to serve in the Senate at the same time. The governor said this aspect was not “a central factor” in his decision, but stressed the importance of exposing “talent in every American community.”
Cowan will fill-in temporarily until a special election can be held on June 25.
Retired Congressman Barney Frank, who lobbied for the position, responded to the appointment in a statement. He wrote, “I know Mr. Cowan is committed to working hard and in a socially-fair and economically-efficient manner toward resolving pending budget issues.”
Patrick, who confirmed both Frank and O’Donnell were on the short list, let the MSNBC anchor down gently. “Had you not been on the short list, I probably would not have come on your show,” he said. “But I hope you’ll understand, other opportunities I’m sure will come for you if you just continue to work hard.”
Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch launched his bid to permanently fill the U.S. Senate seat. Fellow Democratic Rep. Ed Markey is the only other candidate with his hat in the ring so far.