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Scott Brown likely to run again if Obama taps Kerry

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Outgoing rookie Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, bumped off by Democrat Elizabeth Warren last week, would likely run for Sen. John Kerry's seat if President Obama taps the longtime senator to take over the Pentagon or State Department, according to GOP sources.

Republicans are confident that Brown, who won in an earlier special election to replace Sen. Edward Kennedy after he died, would win. They said he lost out to Warren last Tuesday because President Obama won the state by a huge margin and his coattails carried her across the finish line.

Should he run again and win, he would make history by winning two Senate special elections and twice being a state's junior senator, said GOP officials.

Brown's office had no comment.

In the election, Brown lost to Warren by just 7 percent, 53 percent for Warren to 46 percent for Brown. He clearly won a lot of ticket-splitters because Obama beat Mitt Romney 60 percent to 37 percent.

Officials said that the only hiccup he might face in another special election is a challenge from a new Kennedy: Joseph Kennedy III, son of former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy, was elected to replace retiring congressman Barney Frank.

Massachusetts law requires that a special election be held between 145 and 160 days after a seat is vacated.

The likelihood of the popular Brown winning and giving the GOP another senator next year is a potential problem for Kerry getting a Cabinet job, said another official. One scenario has Obama offering Kerry, a celebrated Vietnam War veteran, the Pentagon job even though he is said to want the State Department. Obama is expected to offer United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice that post.