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. Stephana

    The law was changed to its present form when Romney was governor. Now that the dems are in control again, they want to change the rules again. All the dumocrunts are worried about is power, not the people or the country. It is time to vote all of them out of office.

    August 20, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. KC

    I'm sorry for the Senator's illness; however, I am tired of the Kennedys expecting laws and rules to be changed for them. The world does not revolve around the Kennedy family. This is not an oligarchy.

    August 20, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. David

    Heaven forbid the state might actually elect someone who will actually represent their interests.

    August 20, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. Paul Rankin

    So, let's see if I have this right. Sen. Kennedy supports the law requiring a special election in MA for a vacated Senate seat, just not in this case or at this time.
    Got that?

    August 20, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. proud dem

    What ever works. With chumps and jerks such as Boner and McConnell leading the GOPer trash, it,s gotta be "All hands on deck". Ohio, you guys need too check your value system....Boner is a complete ass.

    August 20, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Rob

    He sure pushed hard for the change when Romney was governor. Now he wants to change it back? What a whiner.

    August 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. joey

    What CNN fails to mention is that law that was passed in 2004 was done out of fear of Republican Governor Romney choosing a Republican replacement. The Mass legislature thought John Kerry would win the presidency, leaving a vacant seat. The law stated, at the time, that the Gov had power to appoint an interim replacement. So they changed it because it didn't suit the Liberal agenda. Now they want to change it back. No inside baseball here.

    August 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. Dustin

    If he is so concerned about the people of Massachusetts having 2 voices in the senate, why doesn't he just step down, so they can get the process started. He obviosly isn't being their voice if he's not showing up. If your health won't allow you to perform your job, then step down.

    August 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  9. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Why doesn't he resign if he is unable to actively perform all the duties of his office?

    August 20, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. Scott, Tucson

    Just another typical Democrat who wants the rules bent to serve their self interest. 47 seven years in the Senate...Kennedy is the poster child for the need to change term limits to only two.

    August 20, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. bill

    I'm sorry for Sen Kennedy's illness but it's time for his influence to take be broken. Now he wants to dictate to the citizens of MA. He got the succession laws changed before and he now wants them changed back strictly for political purposes. Time for MA to say no Sen Kennedy.

    August 20, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. Dave

    Good idea Ted. The last lion.

    August 20, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. stepped-on-but-I-wont-stay-down

    The Liberals within the Democratic party will use the 'nuclear option'
    process of reconciliation (not a very true word for what they plan to do).

    They will pass this nightmare legislation (even without Senator Kennedy's vote).. with only 51 votes.

    Then we will vote as many Democrats out of office as possible in
    2010. So much fighting and injustice from both sides, because
    some Democrats are trying to find middle ground.

    Sadly all Democrats will be voted out due to guilt by association.

    We will be represented after all. It is the American way.

    Push us.. we will push back harder (but with reasonableness and with OUR VOTE.

    August 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. Last Honest man

    Who ever is pulling the strings for Kennedy is pretty scary. This is true Cloak and Dagger stuff go on hear.

    August 20, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. Mary Lou Molina

    As you watch the behaviors of our President and case in point Senator Ted Kennedy you can not but help to notice the difference between intelligence and compassion for our fellow man and the screaming hateful group of people taking over these Town Halls...has the Republican party become the party of racists, ignorent thugs, and just mean mean people?

    August 20, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. A voter

    What this story leaves out is that the Dem legislature here in MA changed the law in 2004 so a then Republican Governor (Romney) couldn't replace John Kerry with a Republican should Kerry have won President. Now they want to change the law back? All to pass a piece of legislation? Deval Patrick's approval ratings are at 19%. If he and the Dem legislature here submit to Kennedy's wishes, every single one of them should be replaced.

    August 20, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Chris

    Tell me again why Senators can stay around until they're too old to even make rational decisions, but we have the 22nd amendment to keep presidents at 2 terms?

    August 20, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Wake Up

    Kennedy's are above the law...and now King Obama is above the law. Is anyone concerned at all by Obama and his minions acting like dictators? Czars with power (unconstitutionally), owning of companies, dicating wages....WAKE UP! This is fascism.

    August 20, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Kevin

    Get well soon, Senator Kennedy! You're the best.

    August 20, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. Dan

    Funny how when it comes to partisan politics, Ted Kennedy wants to change the laws.

    August 20, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Frank from Gilroy

    If Obama and the Dem's keep caving to special interest pressure they won't need to worry about Kennedy's vote.
    They have comprimised once off of single payer to public option. You'd think they were in the minority.
    Now they are saying that COOP's are an option. The only health COOP in the nation that is working is Washington States and thats taken 60 years to get it right. The insurance companies would love that option as much as they love the current system because they would still have no competition.
    The biggest problem we have as a nation is that the special interest that have bought Rep's have started buying Dem's now that they are in power and you have guys like Baucus towing the anti healthcare reform line with the Republican's.
    We have the best Government money can buy!

    August 20, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. mary

    What your article failed to mention was that it was the Democrats back in 2004 that changed the law fearing the then Repubican Governor would appoint a replacement for Senator Kerry. Now they want to change the law AGAIN! I guess they will just keep chaning the law everytime there is a vacancy depending on what they need at the time.

    August 20, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. joe

    So let me get this straight, the State of Massachusetts has been without "two voices" for months due to Kennedy's illness but laws should be amended in the event he drops dead

    August 20, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Let's agree to call the health care bill THE KENNEDY HEALTH CARE BILL as no one worked harder than he to fight for its passage over the years.

    August 20, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Replace Kennedy with someone just as far left and it will still make little difference. When 2010 rolls around, the Democrats will suffer their biggest loss ever. With only 8 million people truly uninsured, there is absolutely no rush to judgement to pass the bill BO wants. Reform is necessary, and a good start would be tort reform followed by an oversight committee for the Insurance industry to keep them in check.

    August 20, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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