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. Tom in Delaware

    More Liberal hypocrisy....just change the laws to accomdate the needs of the moment and if you criticize it then you must be a racist.

    Americans have been alerted to the constant double-standard that comes from the Left and we're tired of it.

    The 'Government Option' in Healthcare is dead and to see the Liberals trying to defend it is like watching the latest remake of "Weekend At Bernie's".

    August 20, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. George

    Good idea!!!!! The democrats are the only ones working in Washington so they may as well have a full staff. The republicans that have vacancys could wait til the next presidential election to think of replacing theirs. They will do nothing other than say no and whine for the next 3 years anyway.

    August 20, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Don

    What a piece of trash. When his party had the house and senate in Mass. he had them change state law so that Mitt Romney could not appoint a republican, now that he is wasting away on tax payer paid health care, he wants the law changed back so that his democrat governer can appoint his democrat successor without an election which is required by the law he changed. The true democrat, Kennedy's colors are showing...dictator, just like the other democrats in the federal congress. They are all crooks, republicans and democrats. People, stand up for yourself, we are being taken over by these congressional crooks.

    August 20, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Patricia

    surely this abuse of power has to stop somewhere... this is outrageous... apparently Democrats and the left will stop at nothing...no abuse of power,no bending of laws is beyond them. and to think that they complained about the past administration... wow.

    August 20, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Anonymous

    What the article did not stat e was that democrats changed the law from an appointment to an election so that a republican govenor could not ppoint a republican if kerry won the presidential election.

    August 20, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Rose

    It was Kennedy that wanted a vote instead of Governor appointment when Kerry ran for Pres. Romney was the Gov. at that time, Kennedy did not want Romney to appoint a Republican. Now he wants to reverse that decision to suit his needs. He just needs to resign his seat, it sounds like he knows he won't be going back. Byrd needs to resign his seat also, at 91 he has no business in the Senate.

    August 20, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Jacapo Zatarra

    Of course, let's change the rules for a Kennedy. Or better yet, let's replace this (gentleman) with another Kennedy.

    August 20, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. randy

    of course this dirtball would want this, it more important to get the hippy laws past than follow the law. What a bunch of criminals the whole democant party is. If he would have acted quickly 30 years ago a girl would still be alive.

    August 20, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. JJ in NY

    Partisan politics until the end.................If kennedy is incapable, he should just step down now !

    August 20, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Carlos

    What a couple of smug jerks we have in this picture.

    August 20, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. ohio

    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.

    And yet no one at CNN picks up on how wrong the above action is. This is why no one trusts the government. They all act like spoiled 12 year old children.

    August 20, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    The power of Kennedy, should not be sufficient cause to change the state system, just to support the Democratic Party. That would constitute an abuse of political power, and would be very un-American.

    August 20, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Mike

    Politics is politics I guess but this smells of hypocrisy. If the current law was good enough when Romney was in office, it should be good enough now. No wonder Americans are increasingly cynical about Washington when we repeatedly see those inside the beltway exempting themselves from what they impose on others.

    August 20, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Angie in PA

    It will be VERY HARD To replace Sen Kennedy sad so sad!

    August 20, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Rob from MO

    Senator Kennedy is a true American hero.

    August 20, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. demwit

    Kennedy and Byrd will surely be put in charge of Satan's eternal healthcare plan. Of course.., they'll be expecting an exemption down there too.

    August 20, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Ken

    Senator Kennedy is a long-serving gentlemen from a family who has given much to this country,. But if he's THAT concerned, why doesn't he step down now. The article states that he's missed many sessions, over a period of months due to his illness. If I did that at my job they would have already found my replacement.

    No offense meant to the Senator, and nothing but good wishes to him and his family, but if his real interest is in the people, then serve the people by letting them get on with business.

    August 20, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. love you Senator

    We need more Kennedy's in the world.
    God Bless you Senator Kennedy

    August 20, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. Wise AZ

    What a jerk. Yes, let's change the laws because Teddy wants it. He's been in office too long as it is.

    August 20, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Dave

    So Democrats change the rules when it suits them, and now they want to change the rules back because circumstances have changed? Ethics? Anyone? Anyone have some ethics Teddy can borrow? No? sigh...

    August 20, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Doraine Gordon

    Even while he is sick Ted Kennedy is still thinking about what is best for the people. The Kennedy's are a very rich and powerful family but that has never stopped them from wanting to help their fellow man. I wish we had more people like them. Perhaps then our country wouldn't be in the shape it is in. I urge everyone to keep Ted in their prayers.

    August 20, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. Michael Fenter

    Change the law so they can choose a senator rather than the people?

    10 to one that a Kennedy clan member will be appointed if this is allowed. Leave it as is.

    If we change the law to suit one party over another, then what is the point? Enough with partisan politics. No more appointments as they are always riddled with nepotism and back door politics.

    The current law was passed to ensure the people of Massachusetts could elect their representatives with come due process. .
    If we change the law to suit one party over another, then what is the point? Enough with partisan politics. Let the people choose.

    If Kennedy were truly concerned about the vacancy, he would start stepping down now and let the process begin.

    August 20, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. BOB

    term limits on all sentors 8 years max 47 yrs as a sentor how much money did he steal from the goverment come on get real that is the problem terms are to long

    August 20, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. MLH

    Senator Kennedy has served his country, and despite a terminal illness and recent death in the family, he continues to look out for what he believes to be in this country's best interests.

    August 20, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Thomas

    Its is certainly about time for a new Senator. Riding on the coattails of JFK, this guy has done all he could to make the US the Soviet Union. It must be nice to have all you need to win one election after another.

    August 20, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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