by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter
Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is the latest Republican to say no to a U.S. Senate race. On Friday, former Senator Scott Brown also said he was out. Still, Republicans believe they can mount a competitive candidate.
Former State Rep. John Lepper said, "Republicans that are willing to put the time and effort into it, have a shot, yeah."
Lepper also said the GOP has some well-qualified and well-known candidates who could run, including former Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey.
"She has more name recognition, I would think than some of the people I mentioned. Those would be advantageous for her," Lepper said.
ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "Republicans may still have some advantage in this race, and that's because the Democrats are holding a primary, and primaries can often be expensive and divisive.
Two Democrats - Congressman Steve Lynch and Congressman Ed Markey- will face off. And while it may be bruising, local Democrats like their odds right now.
Former Councilor John Davis (D) Attleboro said, "I think both Representative Markey and Representative Lynch would be shining stars in any race. And there doesn't seem to be wealth of candidates on the Republican side."
Other Democrats caution against overconfidence. Sen. Jack Reed, (D-RI), said, "No one is taking that race for granted. They are going to work hard, and I hope we can hold the seat."
And there's another possible Republican. Forty-two year old Tagg Romney - son of the former Governor, is also considering a Senate bid.