The Washington Post

Gov. Patrick appoints Mo Cowan to Senate

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has appointed his former chief of staff, Mo Cowan, to the Senate.

At a news  conference Wednesday morning, Cowan said he was confident he would make a difference in his short time in the Senate but had no plans to run for the seat in a June 25 special election. 

Patrick told reporters that Cowan has been a "professional colleague and a friend for a very long time" whose work helping Massachusetts through the financial crisis has prepared him well to serve in the Senate. He added that Cowan is also "cool," something Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray emphasized in his own remarks.

"Tom Brady, George Clooney, James Bond, the president have nothing on Mo," Murray said.

Cowan said he was "honored and humbled" by the appointment and "confident in my ability to make a positive impact for Massachusetts while I am in the Senate." He thanked his wife Stacy, "a true superwoman," his two sons and his mother, a single mother who grew up in the segregated South. "My mother told me days like today are possible," he said.

A native of North Carolina, Cowan is the first African American to represent Massachusetts in the Senate since Republican Edward Brooke held the seat from 1966 to 1978.

Cowan will replace Sen. John Kerry, who was confirmed Tuesday as the next secretary of state. He will serve as a placeholder until the special election can be held in June. Among the candidates expected to run for the seat are Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) Former senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has not announced his plans.

Cowan stepped down as as Patrick's chief of staff last month to pursue a private sector career. After the temporary appointment ends, that will still be his goal, he said; he is not a candidate for political office “today or any time in the future." The governor offered him the post yesterday, he said.

In picking Cowan, Patrick passed over other candidates, including former congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Vicki Kennedy, the widow of former senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Cowan will become the second African American to join the Senate in the past month, along with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R), another appointee. When he is sworn in, the Senate will feature two black members for the first time ever.

He can be followed on Twitter at @mocowan, and here is more on his background, from The Fix's Sean Sullivan.

Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
New Hampshire has voted. The Democrats debate on Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See results from N.H.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.