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. LIP

    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 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Suzi

    I thought the PEOPLE VOTED for these Senators????? Mr. Kennedy should just follow the LAW like the rest of the citizens in this country.

    August 20, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Bob Voter

    Another example of manipulation of the system for the party gains verses the people's voice.

    August 20, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Gerald

    That fact that Ted is not in prison to this day amazes me, proof enough of what money can buy. The folks in Massachusetts should really take a hard look at their candidates, Ted and Barney, They just don't cut the mustard, and in fact I’d be embarrassed. Until the people pushing health care will sign on for their own families the middle class will get screwed.

    August 20, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. pete

    This is the reason to get out all of the old sick and dying people out of congress. They stay well past their time. Term limits on people and make them go to work for real.

    August 20, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Greg

    Hmm... so what Kennedy do you think they will get to 'temporarily' fill Kennedy's spot? I can't help but feel with the passing of Ted, the political machine that was the Kennedy's dynasty will be lost. Maybe it was actually lost in 1984, but there have been glimmers from time to time that one of the younger Kennedy's would step up to the plate... awfully big shoes to fill though.

    August 20, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. BCN

    This is an example of a true public servant. He's facing his own health issues, the death of his sister, but he's thinking of his lifelong mission of guaranteeing decent health care as a RIGHT, not a privilege. May the force be with you, Teddy.

    August 20, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. diridi

    Hope not....at least till the passage of this nation's health care reform.with public option...or else, GOP thugs rob the nation, ..dear kennedy, we all pray for you....love, d

    August 20, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. peter

    perhaps he should step down now before dying suddenly and leaving his constituents underrepresented... sigh...

    August 20, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. Anonymous

    This is so typical Kennedy...change the laws to serve their needs or interests....sorry ted, not this time

    August 20, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Stuffit

    Change the rules for King Teddy so the deck can be properly stacked.

    He could announce his resignation and then the scheduled election can proceed in a more timely manner. Byrd should resign as well.

    These two bring nothing to the table anymore, get some fresh new blood in there. Just old crusty white guys trying to hold on to their power.

    August 20, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Gee... A suggestion by a dying Democratic senator to allow a Democratic governor to name the dying senator's replacement... Anyone but me see the ulterior motive here? Sure, Kennedy thinks "it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens"–as long as both those voices are those of Democrats.

    Plotting and scheming to the end...

    August 20, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. Mike

    Wouldn't this circumvent the process of letting voters decide who their senator should be?
    While I applaud Mr. Kennedy for using politics as usual to push his own personal agenda I do not agree than any appointment of a U.S. Senator is constitutional.
    I live in Minnesota and we went with only one Senator for months because our law does not allow for Senatorial appointments.
    Allowing an appointment of a U.S. Senator would give a huge advantage to the appointee come election time and that is unfair to any other candidate whether Democrat or Republican.

    August 20, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. carlo

    My prayers go out to Sen. Kennedy. He's this close to seeing his dream of healthcare for every American be realized. It's a shame that so many people think that wanting this is somehow immoral. The irony is astounding.

    August 20, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. Arnie Jemison

    That right, change all laws to suit the ideas of one person at a time.

    August 20, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. jk

    How convenient... screw the people appoint someone and don't allow their voice to be heard. I'll be interesting to see if they do this "request:"

    August 20, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. SFL BIll

    Kenney is at it again...the laws don't apply to him and his family.

    August 20, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. Inbisbee

    Health care for all americans is a life and death issue for many,many people in this country-regular check-ups and preventitive medicine are out of reach for millions soley because of financial reasons.Everyone must wake up and start caring about their neighbor more than their dollar,(again this week!) Thank you Ted.

    August 20, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. JC

    It would be such a tragic if he doesnt even get to vote on health care after all these years. Such a great leader for all liberals.

    August 20, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. Lorenzo Williams

    Senator Kennedy is working harder than most other Sen. with good health. He is trying to do what is right for the people of Mass. Keep of the good work Sen. Kennedy!

    August 20, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Jackie in Dallas

    I'm sure that the radicals will be jumping all over this...after all, it is a Democrat. Actually, what Senator Kennedy is proposing is logical and reasonable. And it shows the desire to serve his constituency he and his family have always shown. Although his party may have been being partisan, I don't believe he is.

    August 20, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Fernando

    Surpise, surprise...Kennedy is trying to change the law to allow another Democrat to replace him immediately. How about he abide by the laws that his state has created and stop trying to circumvent the process to his liking.

    It's also unbelieveable that there are no laws to force Senators to retire after a certain number of terms. After all, POTUS has one...

    August 20, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Nighthawk

    I guess he's named his successor also. What a rat!!!

    August 20, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. R. Ptacek

    I am sure that Sen. Kennedy and his ilk would rather not have these exalted positons be elective at all. They would much prefer life-time roles in a lineage dominated House of Lords. I believe most voters would also like to see mandatory end of term limits sometime before end of life ("serving" in Congress until you die of old age), is not what the founders intended. if you really need a lifetime position, try out for POPE, I'm sure you guys feel more than qualified/entitled ).

    August 20, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Carl

    I think that if he can't be on the senate floor to vote ,THEN HE NEEDS TO STEP ASIDE AND RETIRE.

    August 20, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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