August 20th, 2009
10:21 AM ET
3 years ago

Kennedy urges immediate Senate replacement if vacancy occurs

Sen. Kennedy has written a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and other state leaders.
Sen. Kennedy has written a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and other state leaders.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Ted Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, is urging Massachusetts officials to change a law to allow for an immediate temporary replacement should a vacancy occur for one of his state's two Senate seats.

Under a 2004 Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days after a Senate seat becomes vacant. The winner of that election would serve the remainder of a senator's unexpired term.

Kennedy, a Democrat who has represented Massachusetts in the Senate for nearly 47 years, was last re-elected in November 2006. His six-year term ends in January 2013.

In a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick and other state leaders, Kennedy said he supports the current law, "[b]ut I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election."

Read: Kennedy's letter

Kennedy, 77, asks the governor and state leaders to "amend the law through the normal legislative process to provide for a temporary gubernatorial appointment until the special election occurs," according to the letter, dated July 2.

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Filed under: Massachusetts • Popular Posts • Senate • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Typical of Kennedy. One of his last acts may be to request a change in law for political benefits. A sad end to an even sadder political career.

    August 20, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    Obviously, he is afraid of the electorate, especially if Congress rams Obamacare down our throats. This reaks of arrogance and power.... we might as well get used to it with the socialists in power.

    August 20, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. U.S. Common Sense

    "Please rush in a replacement who will vote for this boondoggle health care takeover bill." – Sen. Kennedy

    August 20, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. Kevin in Ohio

    Oh, and Ted...if you are so concerned about massachusetts having its rightful two voices, step down NOW and let the process begin. You have been an absentee senator long enough.

    August 20, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  5. Jacques of MA

    Has Teddy been to death counseling? The letter written by Teddy can only be for one reason, to deal with only one possibility. How soon does it take the "normal legislative process" to act?

    August 20, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Phil

    Love it...so Kennedy wants to change the rules to be sure a fellow Democrat of like minded thinking is put in temporarily to ensure his healthcare vote. A corrupt Kennedy, never! Haha! The whole lot was crooked!

    August 20, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  7. Mississippi Mike

    For the sake of bipartisanship Kennedy should be replaced by a Republican. His constituents deserve to see what a Republican can do for them.

    August 20, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. Law and Order

    typically, a kennedy would want to change the law to suit his needs.

    August 20, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. D. Tree

    God Bless you, Senator Kennedy, for continuing to fight for working Americans despite your cancer.

    Rest assured, we WILL pass health care reform legislation this year – and I hope you will be there to cast your vote!

    August 20, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. demwit

    America would clearly be better off without the three muskrateers.., Kennedy, Bryd and progressively liberal healthcare reform.

    August 20, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Kraig

    Get that old son of a out of office. This is why term limits are so important to institute. 2 terms and out. Our forefathers never invisioned a senator serving over 47 years, it is sick.

    August 20, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. Not Left or Right but Forward

    Regardless of Ted Kennedy's errors in judgement in his personal life, his devotion to the cause of providing the health care he and his family can afford to all Americans is admirable. It has been the focus of his career, and it would be atragedy if he passes away without seeing some kind of progress in health care reform. Should that happen, I hope they see fit to re-name the appropriate legislation the Kennedy Healthcare Reform Act.

    August 20, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. sunshine

    I wish you a miracle, Mr. Kennedy, I pray health care will pass for every American, Be Blessed.

    August 20, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  14. Robin in SC

    God Bless Teddy!

    August 20, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. Pepou

    I am campaigning for public option. Something that Senator Kennedy has fought for all his life. Let's do it also for him!

    August 20, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. Greg

    "Change the law for ME!!!"

    What a DOLT!

    August 20, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. obummer, 1 and done

    typical to circumvent rules for political gain.

    Definately not an obummer supporter and realize that both sides do these kind of things, (not to the extent of the obummer dimocrats), but it is still wrong.

    August 20, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. Onan Coca

    Why doesn't your article mention that the in 2004 when the law was changed Mitt Romney was Governor? The reason the Democrats in Massachusetts changed the law was to make sure Romney could not appoint a Republican to John Kerry's seat if he won the Presidential election.
    It is ridiculous that you would write this as though this were political business as usual. It's not. This is political hackery, and the Democrat Party once again abusing the system. In 2004 they changed the law because democracy needed to be served...in 2009 they want to change the law so that expedience can be served?
    It's hypocritical and we should have seen it coming... thanks for NOT reporting the news CNN.

    August 20, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  19. blackhorsecav

    did his majesty support the change in filling a seat in 2004?

    August 20, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. Dennis

    Why doesn;t he resign since he obviously cannot fulfill his duties as Senator?

    August 20, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  21. cjr

    every bill that Ted Kennedy ever touched – touched all of us. Wish him well!

    August 20, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. cramit

    Give him a pill and send him home , Right obama ?

    August 20, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. pete

    complete and utter bull crap.

    the dems changed this when they had a Republican governor

    they made the bed, they need to suck it up and live by their own rules

    besides, at his age and health, Kennedy is not really serving anyway....

    August 20, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Hugo

    Of course he urges stacking the deck with his wife or crony, you can't buy your way to heaven with good intentions Teddy. I will not be surprised as it sure seems that the Kennedy's still have control over ALL Democrats in Massachusetts!

    August 20, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Michael

    .....nearly 47 years. Almost unpresidented proof that there needs to be term limits to avoid this type of runaway career politicos. Two terms, do what you can and get out! If you can't fix it in 12 years, you are never going to fix it in 47.

    August 20, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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