Rep. Claire Cronin (right) poses with now-President Joe Biden in a photo the Easton Democrat posted to Facebook last November. [Courtesy State House News Service]
MAY 26, 2021.....House Majority Leader Claire Cronin, who was a top surrogate for President Joe Biden in Massachusetts during the 2020 campaign, could be headed to Ireland as ambassador with one source saying the Easton Democrat is being vetted by the White House and an online report suggesting she was "soon to be revealed" as Biden's pick.
The possibility that Cronin, who entered the House in 2013, could be headed across the Atlantic had Beacon Hill and social media buzzing on Wednesday, though the report on the New York-based website IrishCentral, about Irish politics and culture, had not been independently confirmed.
Cronin, an Easton Democrat, climbed to the number two position in House leadership this session under new Speaker Ron Mariano, though in a post-appointment interview with Commonwealth she said, "Absolutely not," when asked if she aspired someday to become the first female speaker.
During the 2020 campaign, Cronin was one of Biden's biggest champions in Massachusetts as many other politicians lined up behind home-state Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
One source on Beacon Hill said the White House had been calling people who have worked with Cronin both inside and outside of politics to discuss her background and character, leaving the feeling that it's hers to lose.
Even after Biden finished poorly in the early primary states, people close to Cronin said Wednesday she continued to beat the Biden drum. The president's win in Massachusetts in March over Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders helped fuel his comeback on the primary trail, and when it came time for Massachusetts to officially cast its 11 Electoral College votes for Biden during the virtual Democratic National Convention last summer, it was Cronin who had the honor.
The news of Cronin's potential appointment, which IrishCentral attributed to "sources close to the matter," spread quickly online and had some of her colleagues eager to congratulate her.
"So proud of state Rep Claire Cronin (Dem, Brockton, Easton)!!! She's tough smart caring, super eloquent and wicked smart. Majority Leader Cronin will be an amazing ambassador to Ireland. Congratulations Claire," Rep. Michelle Dubois wrote on twitter, linking to the report.
Rep. Liz Miranda shared the same article, writing, "Congratulations to Leader Claire Cronin for this incredible achievement. Thank you for being a partner to me in the House on so many issues. We are proud of you!"
Both tweets were later taken down, though DuBois left up a response to the IrishCentral tweet sharing the news: "She would be a great ambassador!" DuBois wrote.
Rep. Tram Nguyen also tweeted: "Congratulations to Leader Cronin! So well-deserved! She's smart, compassionate, and always willing to lend a helping hand."
The author of the article, Niall O'Dowd, has been writing for months about the sweepstakes for the plum posting to the Emerald Isle, often mentioning Cronin as a contender, but Cronin has not responded to inquiries about her interest.
The Easton Democrat, and aides to the new majority leader, did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday, and others on Beacon Hill and within the Congressional delegation could not confirm that Cronin would be the pick.
"Rep. Claire Cronin is the Majority Leader. She is an outstanding public servant and I'm lucky to have her on my leadership team," Speaker Mariano said in a statement.
Other figures mentioned for the Ireland posting since Biden's election in November include Boston public affairs consultant Thomas O'Neill III, former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, New York civil rights lawyer Brian O’Dwyer, and former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Elizabeth Frawley Bagley.
Whoever is chosen, they will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate and will replace Edward Crawford, who served in the role from July 2019 to January 2021 during the Trump Administration.
Cronin chaired the powerful Judiciary Committee until she was tapped by Speaker Mariano earlier this year to take on the number two role in House leadership. She has played keys roles in the passage of major criminal justice, abortion access and policing accountability laws, and as a lawyer worked on the landmark Catholic clergy sex abuse settlement as a mediator.
In the House, she represents the 11th Plymouth District covering parts of Brockton and Easton.
She was first elected in 2012, is a graduate of Stonehill College and Suffolk University Law School. She is a member of the Massachusetts bar and admitted to practice in U.S. District Court and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Should she leave Boston for Dublin, Cronin's departure would open a plum position in House leadership with Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan and Assistant Majority Leader Michael Moran among those who will be looked to as possible replacements.