BOSTON – U.S. Rep. Edward Markey plans to run for John Kerry’s Senate seat if Kerry becomes the nation’s next secretary of state.

Markey, the dean of the state’s congressional delegation (he was first elected in 1976), issued a statement Thursday saying the events of recent weeks, including the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and the ongoing fiscal cliff debate, have made it clear to him that Massachusetts needs a senator with what he called the “right priorities and values.”

President Barack Obama’s decision last week to nominate Kerry as secretary of state means Massachusetts voters are facing their third Senate election since 2010.

If Kerry is confirmed by his fellow senators, which is expected, the long-serving Democrat would have to resign the seat he’s held for nearly three decades.

That would force Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint someone to serve on a temporary basis in Kerry’s seat until a special election could be scheduled between 145-160 days after his resignation.

The special election for Kerry’s seat is expected to be crowded, especially on the Democratic side.

Markey may soon have company, including from fellow Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch have said they’re seriously considering running for the seat while Rep. Niki Tsongas has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown would be the clear front-runner if he decides to run again.

Brown won a 2010 special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy but then lost a re-election campaign this year to Democratic Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren.

Despite the loss, Brown would be a formidable candidate.

He has a statewide political organization and more than $400,000 left in his campaign account. He remains popular and demonstrated an ability to raise millions of dollars in campaign donations.