By Mac Cerullo
---- — NEWBURYPORT — As state Republicans debate whether to seek John Kerry’s U.S. Senate seat in the upcoming special election, local psychiatrist and bestselling author Dr. Keith Ablow has announced that he is thinking about tossing his name into the mix if the going favorites decide not to run.
Ablow, 51, of Newbury said in a written statement yesterday that if Sen. John Kerry is confirmed as the next secretary of state and if neither Scott Brown nor William Weld runs for his seat, he would seriously consider running for Senate himself.
“The dysfunction in Washington and the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., are both signs this country needs help, and, if neither William Weld nor Scott Brown is the candidate to bring that help from Massachusetts to Washington, I will take those who have asked me to run much more seriously,” Ablow said yesterday in a statement to the Boston Herald. “It is time, on so many levels, for real leadership based on the truth.”
Brown, who recently lost his re-election bid to Elizabeth Warren, and Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, are considered the most likely Republican candidates to run for Kerry’s seat. Ablow did not specifically say whether he would seek the Republican nomination if he ran; but according to state documents he has supported GOP candidates in the past, including Charlie Baker’s 2010 run for governor.
Ablow runs Baystate Psychiatry on Water Street in Newburyport along with a clinic in New York City, and he serves as an assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News, where he is a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team and a regular columnist on the organization’s website.
A message left for Ablow at his Newburyport office seeking further comment wasn’t returned by press time.
Ablow’s possible Senate run has already riled up some left-leaning organizations, including the nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters for America, who speculated that Ablow’s potential run would make him the latest “Fox News candidate” to attempt to use the cable news platform to springboard into political office.
Media Matters also criticized Ablow’s Fox News commentary, saying he “often uses his Fox platform to engage in ham-handed, outlandish psychoanalysis of various media and political figures.”
In their statement, the group cited an appearance after this past fall’s vice presidential debate in which he suggested that Vice President Joe Biden might be suffering from dementia, along with the controversy he stirred in 2011 after he advised parents not to allow their children to watch episodes of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” that transgender star Chaz Bono appeared in that fall.
Should Ablow seek and earn the Republican nomination, his opponent would likely be coming out of a toughly contested primary race. Currently, Democratic Rep. Ed Markey is the only candidate who has officially declared his intention to run, but others are expected to enter the race in the coming weeks.