Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has appointed William "Mo" Cowan, his former chief of staff, to fill former Sen. John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Senate Finance chair backs budget action on fossil fuel subsidies Kerry: 'We can't get where we need to go' in climate fight if China isn't joining in A new UN climate architecture is emerging focused on need for speed MORE's (D) seat until a special election is held this summer.

Cowan was considered one of two front-runners for the position, along with Victoria Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D). 

He becomes the second African American now in the Senate, following the appointment of Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottBiden says he will review executive actions after police reform talks fail Lawmakers say police reform talks are over DOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries MORE (R-S.C.) in December. 

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"Mo's service on the front lines in our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the next generation has earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout government," Patrick said in a statement announcing the appointment.

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) had also pursued the seat, but his outspoken interest might have undermined his chances of winning the appointment.

Kerry was confirmed as secretary of State on Tuesday with overwhelming support. A special election for his seat will be held on June 25, with a primary occurring on April 30.