Former Republican governor William Weld of Massachusetts says he isn't seeking Secretary of State John Kerry's Senate seat. NBC reports:

“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,” Weld said in a statement released Monday.

Weld -- who currently works for the M.L. Strategies in Boston, the government relations and consulting arm of the Mintz Levin law firm -- ran for the Senate in 1996 as the Republican nominee -- and lost to Kerry.

Weld's decision not to run follows fellow Republican Scott Brown's announcement last week that he also would not seek the seat. Brown, who won a special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat in 2010, lost his election last November to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Without Weld and Brown, two of the only four Republicans to win either the governorship or a Senate race in the last 23 years in the Bay State, the GOP will have an even more difficult time at picking up Kerry's seat.

So far, the top two Democratic contenders for the special election are congressman Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch. Markey was first elected to the House in 1976, while Lynch has been in the House since 2001.

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