Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday as the replacement for Hillary Clinton as secretary of State. Clinton’s last day will be Friday.
Kerry got 94 votes, with three senators not voting and three opposed, all Republicans: Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and both Texas senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
Lawmakers hailed Kerry as qualified, noting his personal commitment to understanding the constant changes in the world at large. Kerry brings a variety of experience in advancing America's interest across the globe, President Barack Obama said when nominating him for the post last month. He's a Vietnam veteran, and possesses decades of Senate experience that includes diplomacy.
That Kerry would have been confirmed for the post was evident long before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted early Tuesday morning to approve him. He is expected to be sworn in next week with a final speech before the Senate expected Wednesday.
Prior to the confirmation, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is succeeding Kerry as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he was looking forward to a strong confirmation vote that would send a message to the world that "this is our secretary of state."
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Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he always found Kerry as "someone open to discussion" and that "my sense is that he will be open to listening." He, too, expected Kerry to get a strong vote of support on the Senate floor.
"We live in a dangerous world where things are changing dramatically and I think to have someone like Kerry representing us will be a very good thing," Corker said.
Kerry’s departure from the Senate means a special election needs to be held to find a replacement for his now-vacant seat. His formal resignation, to come Wednesday, means that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick can now name an interim senator until voters chose a successor in late June.
Among the candidates vying for the seat are Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, who has been endorsed by Kerry, and former Republican Sen. Scott Brown.