A Massachusetts Republican appears to be going where four other party members decided not go.
GOP State Rep. Dan Winslow announced Tuesday that he's exploring a bid to run in a June special election to fill the final eighteen months of the term of longtime Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who stepped down from the Senate Friday to succeed Hillary Clinton as U.S. secretary of state.
"Today I'm taking the necessary steps to form an exploratory committee to test the waters for the U.S. Senate. We need to fix a broken Washington where progress is being hampered by partisan gridlock. If we continue to elect the same Washington politicians, we can not expect different results," said Winslow in a statement.
Winslow, who served last decade as chief legal counsel for then Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, becomes the first Bay State Republican to jump into the race, after four more high profile possible candidates said no.
Monday, Tagg Romney, the son of former governor and last year's Republican presidential nominee, announced that he will not run in the special Senate election.
"The timing is not right for me, but I am hopeful that the people of Massachusetts will select someone of great integrity, vision, and compassion as our next US Senator," Romney, 42, said in a statement.
Earlier Monday, former Republican Gov. William Weld, who was elected twice in the 1990's as Bay State governor, also announced he would not make a bid.
"While I am grateful for the kind expressions of support and encouragement which I have received, I will not be a candidate for United States Senator from Massachusetts in the special election this year," said Weld said in a statement released by the law firm where he is employed.
Weld moved from New York back to Boston recently, and there was some speculation that he might make a second run for the Senate. Weld's unsuccessfully challenged Kerry in 1996.
On Saturday former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei said he would sit out the election. In November Tisei nearly ousted Democratic Rep. John Tierney in Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District.
And on Friday, the candidate Bay State Republicans had hoped would run, former Sen. Scott Brown, also said no.
In January 2010, then state lawmaker Brown upset Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, in a special election to fill the final two years of the term of longtime Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died the previous summer.
Brown won the special election by five points over Coakley, but lost his re-election bid in November to Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren by eight points. Around 2.3 million voters cast ballots in the 2010 special election, and nearly 3.2 million voted in last November's general election.
So who else is left?
Two other names that come up in connection with the Senate campaign are former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy Seal who works in the finance industry.
Whoever runs will need to gather 10,000 signatures by Feb. 27 to qualify for the ballot. If there is more than one GOP candidate, they would square off on primary day, April 30.
At least two Democrats will face off that day in their party's primary.
Thursday Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch announced his bid for Kerry's Senate seat, becoming the second candidate to jump into the special election. Lynch joins fellow Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, the longest serving member of the Bay State's congressional delegation.
Wednesday Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick announced that a trusted former aide was his choice to serve as an interim replacement for Kerry. Patrick named William "Mo" Cowan, his former chief of staff, as senator.
Cowan, who will serve through the June special election, will become the second African-American in the U.S. Senate, alongside Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina. Scott, who was just elected in November to a second term as a congressman, was named last month to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, who stepped down from his seat.