Massachusetts Lawmakers Angle for Senate President’s Chair

Massachusetts state senators are maneuvering to become the next Senate president. That’s fueled by speculation that Senate President Therese Murray, one of the most powerful politicians at the state, could be headed for the door.

Senators are already lining up votes to replace Murray, suggesting that her departure could be imminent. In any case, Murray has to step down as president by the end of March 2015, because of term limit rules.

Two senators are jockeying for the job: Senate Ways and Means Chairman Steven Brewer of Barre, who oversees the budget and tax bills, and Senate Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst, who was the main voice on casino gambling and redistricting.

The effort to lobby and line up votes has gone on outside of public view, in conversations inside offices.  Publicly, many senators won’t say who they’re backing. Others will, like Marc Pacheco of Taunton:

“I’m a supporter of Stanley Rosenberg’s,” Pacheco said. “I’ve supported him a long time.  He has been an outstanding leader.”

Sen. Gale Candaras of Wilbraham was more tight-lipped about all this, and careful to praise the Senate president.

“It is my sincere hope that she serves until the last day, the last hour, the last minute of her term,” Candaras said.

And Candaras only obliquely confirmed that the leadership race has come down to fellow Western Massachusetts senators Rosenberg and Brewer.

“I absolutely support having a Senate president from Western Massuchusetts and I would say there’s almost a 100% probability that I will be able to serve with a great colleague and friend from Western Massachusetts,” she said.

For her part, President Murray walked away when reporters asked her about her plans. Brewer would not comment and Rosenberg’s aide said he’s occupied with Senate business.