Rabbi Jonah Pesner, an official of the Union for Reform Judaism, is considering a run for the open Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat.

Pesner, of Newton, Mass., told the Boston Phoenix in a story posted January 7 that he is having "exploratory conversations" about a run to replace Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), whom U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated to be secretary of state. He would run as a Democrat.

Pesner, a senior vice president for the Reform organization, was a leader of an interfaith alliance that was considered critical in bringing about universal health care coverage in Massachusetts - a template for Obama's version that was passed in 2010.

The winner of a special vote for the seat would face reelection in two years, when it would revert to the typical six-year term.

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is lobbying Gov. Deval Patrick to name him the interim senator until the election takes place, likely by springtime.