Who Could Replace Eric Holder as Attorney General?

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The top name always mentioned to possibly replace Attorney General Eric Holder has been Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Patrick, who - like Holder - is African-American, is retiring from the governorship after eight years in the job.

On Thursday, Patrick denied rumors that he is next in line for the job. According to an aide, he said at an event in Hudson that the post of attorney general is "an enormously important job, but it's not one for me right now."

There also could be a slight hiccup with that choice: Massachusetts has a vacancy at lieutenant governor, so there isn't a natural successor who could replace Patrick if he were picked and confirmed before he leaves office.

If Obama decides to replace Holder with a career prosecutor, a top Democratic Hill aide tells NBC News that one possibility would be retiring U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan in Seattle, who has been described as the first openly gay U.S. attorney.

Other names in the mix: Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

- Mark Murray & Carrie Dann