Amherst Democrat Stanley Rosenberg said Wednesday he has enough support to become the next president of the Massachusetts Senate.
Rosenberg has served in the chamber for more than 21 years and is the current majority leader, the number-two Democratic post under Senate President Therese Murray.
“[A]s of last night, I now have an overwhelming majority of the Democratic caucus has pledged support to have me replace the Senate president when [Murray] retires from the post,” he told New England Public Radio on Wednesday morning.
Because of an 8-year term limit, Murray must leave the Senate presidency in early 2015. Despite statehouse rumors that Murray’s exit may be more imminent, Rosenberg said Murray “indicates she intends to fill-out the full term.”
“She is pleased that this was amicably resolved,” Rosenberg said. “It was spirited but totally respectful. It did not distract the body from its business, and she’s happy that there is a succession plan.”
The official leadership vote, Rosenberg said, won’t take place until Murray’s term ends. But he is not worried his support will fade over those 17 months because he said he has “written confirmation” from his backers. He would not say exactly how many supporters he has or who they are.
If elected Senate president, Rosenberg would be the first Western Massachusetts senator in the post since Maurice Donahue, who held it from 1964 to 1971.
Rosenberg’s top competitor in the leadership race was another Western Massachusetts senator, Steven Brewer of Barre, the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
“I have known Stan Rosenberg for over 35 years,” Brewer said in a statement. “I know Stan will do a fine job as Senate President when that time comes. I admire Senate President Murray as a colleague and a friend and look forward to her continued leadership. Our caucus should remain united. The Senate is an institution that is larger than any one person.”
Asked what it means for the region to have one of its senators presiding over the Senate, Rosenberg offered a diplomatic reply.
“Our job is to build a statewide agenda and help each member help their districts develop and grow – in terms of the economy, in terms of social progress,” he said. “And we do it from the bottom up and much of the work that we do will apply to the whole commonwealth. Other parts of it will be germane to our specific area.”
Rosenberg gave even fewer specifics in describing how his leadership of the Senate would differ from Murray’s.
“That will be determined over time as I work with the members of the Senate – both on process and agenda,” he said.