Posted at: 01/24/2013 2:42 AM
By: Associated Press
U.S. Sen. John Kerry is heading before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a hearing on his nomination as secretary of state.
The Massachusetts Democrat is not expected to face serious opposition from committee members at the Thursday hearing or from the full Senate, which should vote on his nomination next week.
Kerry's confirmation will officially kick off the third U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts in four years.
Once Kerry is confirmed, Gov. Deval Patrick will have to set the date of a special election for within 145 to 160 days of his resignation.
Patrick will also have to name an interim senator to serve until the election is held.
So far the only declared candidate is Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey.
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is weighing a run on the Republican side.