In Scott Brown's victory, both major political parties see a new opportunity: the Wrentham Republican's soon-to-be-empty state Senate seat.

In Scott Brown's victory, both major political parties see a new opportunity: the Wrentham Republican's soon-to-be-empty state Senate seat.

The district is a mix of Democratic-leaning towns like Natick, Wellesley and Wayland with more traditionally Republican territory to the south, such as Brown's hometown and North Attleborough.

That makes it an attractive target for both sides of the aisle. Before Brown landed the post in 2004, Sen. Cheryl Jacques, a Democrat, held the seat.

A Democratic state representative, two GOP lawmakers and others are already lining up to consider the position.

"It's a real swing district,'' said state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick. "It should not be written off in either direction."

Rep. Lida Harkins, D-Needham, a Natick native and 21-year member of the House, said yesterday{WED} she'll run for the position. She cited her experience on several key committees, including education, where she helped reshape funding for school buildings and special education.

Harkins also noted she had voted against a sales tax increase last year and has been part of a group pressing for details on legal fees related to the federal corruption case against former House Speaker Sal DiMasi.

"I think that I would start out from day one having the ability to be helpful to the district,'' she said.

Reps. Richard Ross of Wrentham and Elizabeth Poirier of North Attleborough, both Republicans, also said they are considering bids.

"It certainly would be something I am weighing with great consideration,'' said Ross, who plans to discuss the possibility with Republican leadership.

A move to the Senate and the increase in staff it would bring could allow Ross to do more for his district, he said.

Poirier said she would talk it over with Ross.

"I'm not going to run against another Republican, certainly, so we'll decide what to do,'' she said.

Needham emergency physician and Democrat Peter Smulowicz had already announced plans to run for the seat, even before Brown defeated Martha Coakley in Tuesday's special election.

"He's got some track record in the community,'' said John Saxton, chairman of the Wayland Democratic Town Committee, who is joining Smulowicz's campaign. "He's a real go-getter, and he has a real history of working with people and helping people.''

The position will likely be up for grabs in a special election later this year.

State law does not require a special vote, said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin's office. A Senate rule, however, requires the chamber to schedule a special election within 14 days of a seat becoming vacant, said Dave Falcone, a spokesman for Senate President Therese Murray.

There's a recent precedent for that. The Senate last week scheduled a May 11 special election to replace Anthony Gallucio, who resigned his Senate seat after being sent to jail. A primary will be held April 13, Falcone said.

When Brown will be sworn into his new position remains unanswered for now. That timing is entirely up to the U.S. Senate, McNiff said.

"The (state) seat isn't officially vacant yet, until (Brown) is sworn in,'' Falcone said. "At that point, we'll have 14 days to announce a date for a special election.''

Other state lawmakers who live in Brown's district include House Majority Leader Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, and Rep. Tom Conroy, D-Wayland. Neither returned calls yesterday.

Linsky said he would not run for the seat, citing his role leading the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which oversees federal stimulus funding.

"I can do a lot more for the people of Natick, Sherborn and Millis as the chairman of the federal stimulus committee than I ever could as a freshman senator,'' Linsky said.

Sarah Orozco, a Needham Democrat who lost to Brown in a bid for his seat in 2008, did not return calls yesterday. Angus McQuilken, who earlier ran against Brown, no longer lives in the district.

After Brown's win, some Republicans were confident yesterday the GOP could hold onto the state Senate seat.

"The person who comes the closest to the campaign issues that Scott presented when he won his national seat still should be the one to take this seat,'' said John Jewell, chairman of the Franklin Republican Town Committee.

Ed McGrath, a Framingham Republican who is challenging Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, was optimistic.

"I think given the way the tide is turning or has turned, we're confident we'll hold onto those seats and pick up some more,'' he said of both Brown and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Richard Tisei, a lieutenant governor candidate.

Democrats were cautiously optimistic.

"I think you have to say almost all districts in the state are basically Democratic,'' said Roger Dowd, a Framingham attorney and active member of the Democratic Party. "I think there's a good chance a Democrat can win that seat.''

Rep. Alice Peisch, D-Wellesley, predicted a fight.

"I think it will be an uphill battle for the Democrats to get that seat back,'' she said.

David Riley can be reached at 508-626-3919 or driley@cnc.com.