August 20th, 2009
10:21 AM ET
7 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. Bull

    How typical of a Kennedy to feel the whole world needs to listen to them.

    August 20, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Alean

    we need to think about the American people . We need laws that state that when a person is unable to do the job they need to leave.People with health problems and older than 65 need to step down That would be thinking of the people.The senate needs to have 3 year term limits.It seems like after 3 years senators are there not so much for the people but for them selves, to make money and have power.

    August 20, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Mike G - Iowa - Retired US Army

    Let’s just change the law one more time before he passes away. Looks like the dems know that the seat will be up for grabs and it might not be a dem who gets it. Just like our Senators to be thinking of themselves as always! If you live in this state, beware, your taxes are going up, even more!

    Critics charged the legislature with changing the statute to prevent then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from picking a replacement for Kerry in the event of a Kerry victory over then-President George W. Bush.

    August 20, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. RR

    Roland Burris ring a bell?

    Each state should have a mechanism to let the people decide on a replacement if there is more than 6 months left in a term that has been vacated. The gov should be able to appoint someone with legislative approval but only temporary before a special election.

    August 20, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Chris

    Dirty Politics as usual. Kennedy's got their wealth running liquor during prohabition. Then Ted gets away with murder and know he wants to cheat the system even if he is dead. Waht a disgrace

    August 20, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Fed Up

    Sounds like things aren't going so well, but that's no reason to change the laws.

    August 20, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. NC

    47 years = TERM LIMITS.

    August 20, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. John Upstate

    I'm praying for you, Senator.

    August 20, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Sarah Halsey

    If Sen. Kennedy is so concerned about the people of Massachusetts then he should be requesting a special election now rather than a gubernatorial appointment. Not everyone in Massachusetts may be a Democrat, or agree with their version of health care reform. The electorate should decide.

    August 20, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    And Teddy deserves special treatment why? Oh, that's right he's a Kennedy and normal rules don't apply.

    August 20, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. jon

    Serving 47 years in Congress is just wrong (by ANY individual from either party). He knows nothing more about a "typical American family" than the man on the moon. People like him are part of the problem and why most of our Congressional members (from both parties) are involved in so many scandals. It's all about power and not the people!!!

    August 20, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Steve Mial

    Give this excellent model civil servicet the opportunity and peace of mind to see a "Life Long Work", (Health Care Reform) come to fruition. If what he is asking is legal, let's not make one of his last wishes a political issue. Forget Mitt Romney and whether the change benefits the Republicans or the Democrats for Gods sake and think about the wishes of one of the last outstanding "Statesmen" this country has had the privilege to have among us.

    Clifton, VA

    August 20, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. PJ

    Just like Tedand his cronies. Make up the rules as you go. Can't wait until 2010. The voters will exercise their "Nuclear Option" and clean house in Congress.

    August 20, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Adam

    Democrats also collaborate with Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

    August 20, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. rufus

    Give him some mandatory end of ljfe counseling. One item might be give up his seat to someone who can attend and do the job! But it would be a sacrilege to a liberal to relinquish power!!

    August 20, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Chris

    If Democrats changed the law, then they should get a chance to reap the benefits of their choices, shouldn't they? Oh, wait, Dems don't like to play fair (or ethically, for that matter).

    August 20, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Eli

    Probably a good idea but maybe Massachusetts ought to worry why so many politicians are being indicted in their state. Corruption is rampant.

    August 20, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Mr Kaoss

    Isn't it amazing that the DEMS, who changed the law in 04 to meet their own self serving interest, would change it yet again because they now feel threatened via another avenue of approach.... An election by the people. What are you DEMS afraid of.....LOL..

    August 20, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. makesUwonder

    Wow, he's served in the Senate for 47 years. All the more reason for Term Limits.

    August 20, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. Dan

    How lame. Dems want to change the law AGAIN to favor their party & causes. How low can you go

    August 20, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. Disgusted

    This is very typical of the tyrants who call themselves Democrats here in Massachusetts. They will stop at nothing to change the law (multiple times, if need be) whenever one of their cherished seats are threatened. Don't want a Republican governor to appoint someone to fill an open Congressional seat? Change the law to disallow it. Have a Democrat Governor and now don't want to wait for a special election? Change the law again. Absolutely disgusting! Hail Caesar!

    August 20, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Daniel Ritchie

    I think it's histerical that the democrats are feeling pinched by their own self-serving law change in 2004.

    Why does the American public continue to put up with this nonsense?

    August 20, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. JDM

    It would be nice but he ask for it in the open, bad move.
    Read the Rep play book,

    August 20, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. T22

    I guess he's anticipating Obamacare. We can save a lot of money by not treating 77 year olds with terminal brain cancer.

    August 20, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. Walter

    Why is he in a hurry? Is he trying out the "End of Life Counseling" proposed in the new healthcare legislation?

    August 20, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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