Dukakis Is Gracious on Senate Snub
But allies say he was passed over due to Kennedy pressure
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 6:48 AM CDT
This Sept. 13, 1988 file photo shows Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in a battle tank in Sterling Heights, Mich.    (AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, FILE)
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(Newser) – For a while it looked as if Michael Dukakis would be headed to the Senate to fill Ted Kennedy's seat, but the former Massachusetts governor says he's fine with being passed over. "Hey, after you've run for the presidency of the United States..." the 1988 candidate told the Boston Globe before trailing off. He has nothing but praise for Paul Kirk, the former DNC chairman whom Gov. Deval Patrick selected: "If it had to be somebody else, believe me, this was the guy."

Patrick faces a tough reelection battle next year, and Republicans had been itching to link him with old 80s images of "Taxachusetts." But Dukakis fans—and believe it or not, there are many in Massachusetts—think that Patrick passed him over because of pressure from the Kennedy family, who made it clear Kirk was their preferred choice. "Not catering to the family could hurt him next year," one ally said. "Snubbing Mike comes with no real political cost."