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. minnie

    This senator should have been gone from congress years ago.
    This really supports 2 year terms. He has drained this nation dry over his salary and retirement and healthcare. What a bummer.

    August 20, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. katiec

    CNN has stooped to the lowest of low.
    They talk about truth squad, uninsured figures and do not allow
    comments on their totally biased article.
    The figures from THE CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK are from 2003!!
    And keep in mind the word conservative.
    But the findings of the Census Bureau are way further down in the
    article with quite different figures.
    But, the main discrepany, none of these figures relate to the recession which began in 2007.
    This article is so full of bias, misleading figures I would think
    even CNN would be embarressed by their reporting??

    August 20, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Im so proud of our country,where the most money buys you the best Government,and Health Insurance Companies make more on a dollar than Vegas is allowed to make on gamblers.What a joke.

    August 20, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I hope this hypothetical vacancy occurs........and soon.

    August 20, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Mariann Pepitone

    There should be a term limit on the senate seat like rhe president has. This would give other people to have a chance to become a senator. He has been in the senate too long and there should be an age limit also. 77 is much too old. The same for the su;preme court. There should be an age limit and term limit. I would like to see much younger people have a chance in politics.

    August 20, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. GuyInVA

    Typical liberal double speak. Senator Kennedy said he supports the current law, "BUT, but, but, oh yeah... I'm a KENNEDY. The law doesn't apply to ME."

    August 20, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. RR

    This is really funny. Thanks for the laugh. The Dems made their bed. Now let them sleep in it.

    August 20, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Mary

    I do not know where these Congressmen and Senators come up with the phrase that health care "is a right." There is no such provision in our Constitution. We cannot afford national health care, the citizens of the US do not want a "one payer system," and we do not have enough doctors to take care of another 46 million (half of which are illegal). Stop talking about completely changing the health care system we presently have and just concentrate on improving the things that are wrong with the health care system we have. A lot of changes need to be made. You do not throw out the baby with the bath water. You change the diaper.

    August 20, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Beacon for the World?

    We all know the rightwingers delayed the passage of the health bill in hopes he would die or be unable to vote.They have no honor.Even thieves on the street have more honor amongst themselves.

    August 20, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sen. Kennedy is fully aware of his tenous state of health. He's worked for decades on trying to get healthcare reform passed. He knows that we will need every vote possible to pass it, and he's trying to make sure, while he still can, that whoever takes his place will be on board and adhere to the agenda. I find this admirable because this man stands to gain nothing from this. In typical Kennedy fashion, he's looking out for Americans that are less fortunate than he.

    August 20, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Claudia in Houson

    This is no Democrat or Republican issue because in some States when a spouse dies before term completion the remaining spouse is appointed to complete the term. This idea is no different and I agree with Kennedy.

    August 20, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Brad

    Pure partisan politics. Both sides do it, and it's disgusting.

    Situation-specific, reactive legislation is nearly always bad policy. In this case they created legislation in 2004 to avoid a specific situation and now, when the situation is reversed, the same cast of characters are reaching for the legislative "undo" button.

    Successful legislation - that is good "for the people" - is based on (relatively) timeless principle and should be able to stand the test of time.

    From the general description given in this article, either system for filling a Senate vacancy seems relatively fair – but switching back and forth to fit a specific party's interest du jour is not.

    August 20, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Mark

    Not a fan of the dems...but Ted Kennedy is not your ordinary liberal democrat. He truly believes in the causes he supports, and not just because it is the popular thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do. I'm a republican, and I say long live Sen Kennedy!! I hope he stays with us for a long time to come.

    August 20, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. cramit

    Rules!!!!!!!! What rules ??? We are democrates! we don't need no stinking rules

    August 20, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. George

    You republicans cry and whine all the time. BOO HOO. For 8 years you wouldn't even talk to democrats, now we try to deal with you and you JUST SAY NO. You made your beds too and I hope you don't sleep too well. But you have to have a conscience to have a restless time. That leaves you out.

    August 20, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. 1984

    I hope it is passed.I dont hear any of these rightwingnuts crying about Bush using a private army like, Black Water, to look for radicals here and abroad.They worry about Obama,when they should be worrying about the Corporate Fascists taking away their precious guns

    August 20, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Steph

    I'm wondering if the horrible comments about a dying man are coming from conservative "christians". My God does not condone such behavior.

    August 20, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Jane in S.F.

    So, identical entries from LIP and Anon, and from Mary, A voter and Joey.... Whoops...they're slipping. Apparently either one doofus is sitting in his/her parents' basement cranking out this meaningless garbage under different names (just like during the '08 campaign) or they've let the cat out of the bag by not realizing that now we know they're signing on to the same right wing 'instructional' website to get their assignment for the day! It's the same with the people Reading their heartfelt stories off a piece of paper at the town mauls, I mean halls. Jeez, you'd think the GOP could find people smart enough to memorize the stuff, wouldn't you??

    August 20, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. Duncan

    "the citizens of the US do not want a "one payer system,"

    You asked them all then? Even the ones without insurance? Or are you going by the handful of people who are screaming at the meetings?

    August 20, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Gary

    Trying to change the rules to suit their cause....hmmmm. He isn't attending session and should retire and there should be a new election.

    August 20, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Jesse

    This is so typical of Kennedy underhanded & unethical dealings. Only in Massachusetts could he have been elected so many times.

    August 20, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Mary

    It sounds like he is admitting that he is mortal.

    Just a reminder - life is short, eternity is forever - live with this in mind, and our world will become a better place.

    August 20, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Ann Marie

    I wish you the very best Sen. Kennedy......You have been a champion for the working class of people in this country and I am very proud of what you and your family has stood for! I wish you the very best with your illness and only hope that you are not suffering.....May God be with you and your family. And yes, I do believe that the Gov. should step in and appoint a temporarily replacement for you, as Mass. should have a voice in the Senate while you are ill. May God be with you, Senator Kennedy!!! You have been a great voice for the working class of people in this country! We Love You!!!

    August 20, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Tina, Georgia

    It was fine when this happened to other states.

    August 20, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. No Incumbents 2010

    Kennedy should resign immediately if he is concerned that his serious medical condition will continue to make it impossible for him to vote on Senate business. The sooner he resigns, the sooner his successor can begin to work. Why hasn't Kennedy resigned already? Regardless of his health problems, he has served long enough and should resign to give someone else the chance to serve.

    August 20, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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