August 27th, 2009
09:11 AM ET
5 years ago

Patrick supports Kennedy's wish for interim senator

Patrick supports appointing an interim senator.
Patrick supports appointing an interim senator.

(CNN) – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, told CNN Tuesday he supports the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's wish to appoint an interim senator to serve during the five months before a special election is slated to be held.

Calling the proposal "eminently reasonable," Patrick told CNN's Larry King. "Massachusetts needs two voices in the United States Senate, especially at a time of momentous change like this."

Under current Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days - about five months - after a Senate seat becomes vacant. The winner of that election serves the remainder of a senator's unexpired term.

Last week, Kennedy - who died Tuesday at age 77 after serving nearly five decades in the Senate - urged that the law be changed to allow the governor to appoint a temporary replacement until the special election can be held.

Patrick also said he has no interest in running for the post itself.

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Filed under: Deval Patrick • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Kiki

    Why do democrats think they can change the law any time they want?? Wasn't kennedy the one who urged the change in the law to suit him when Mitt Romney was governor because he didn't want him to appoint someone if when kerry was running for president? What hyprocites!!! I am not surprised that patrick, being african-american, goes along with this idea. These people have the gall!!!

    August 27, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  2. Hugo

    Why of course he would, he is a Democrat and assuredly a member of the intergovernmental framework of CHANGE, that is beginning to reveal itself to the American people. Same old liberal lawyer game, if you don't like a law, change it or write a new one to suit your need.

    August 27, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Gilmore

    The law was changed to what it is now so Romney couldn't name a Republican if Kerry won the presidency against Bush in 04. Now they want to change it back to what is originally was. Seems a little hipicritical to me to change the law to suite who ever is in charge.

    August 27, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. Paul from Phoenix

    THe law was changed to accomodate Kerry's nomination in 2004 so that Romney, a GOP GOvernor, couldn't make the appointment. Now, they wasnt it changed back so that the Democratic Governor can make the pick.

    There is no way anyone, liberal or conservative, can look at this and not think how shady this move looks, especially those of us who think Bush and his people flaunted the laws. Patrick and the Mass. dems are doing the same thing with this move.

    August 27, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. Adam in NC

    Let's see, he was in support of the law when a Republican was Governor and against the law when a Democrat is Governor. How double standard can you get....changing the law to benefit your party!!! Country first, not your party..... Crooked politics.

    August 27, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. wagon

    I won't be surprised if this happens. Massachusettes is run by the Kennedy family. Another end around the law when it's convenient. Patrick is a Obama cronie. He'll do it. And he'll seal his fate not to be re-elected.

    August 27, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Chris

    Maybe CNN could also mention that it was the partisan Kennedy who had the law changed in the first place so Mitt Romney (REPUBLICAN Gov. of Mass.) couldn't appoint someone in the event that John Kerry was elected president.

    August 27, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Steve miller

    Interesting they want to change the law now, but wouldn't allow then-Gov. Romney to appoint someone to replace Kerry during his absence...

    August 27, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. floridian

    My prayers are with the Kennedy family. He deserves whatever honors and accolades are sent/given. However, in keeping with those clamoring for Bush/Cheney's heads over "torture" interrogation techniques who spout the "law is the law", no way should that Massachusetts law be modified post-death of a U.S. Senator from that state. I would venture to say that if it is changed that some group would challenge it all the way to that state's Surpeme Court and win. This is purely a Democratic party's bending the law (did someone accuse the Republicans of that?) to their political advantage. Again, Chicago politics being exported nationally.

    August 27, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. obummer, 1 and done

    It is scary that the democrats would change laws to get their way, and then change them back when it works to their disadvantage.

    Doesn't this scare even you democrats that the MA legislature would even consider doing this?

    August 27, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Disgusting Politics

    This is pure politics at its WORST! If this law was good enough in 2004, it's good enough now. Manipulating the law to benefit one party over another is disgusting. What's happening in this country? I don't recognize our democracy anymore.

    August 27, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. Marik

    It appears that the lack of that 5 month wait period encourages governors to get rid of Senators they may not like, I fear down the road a corrupt governor could use the "immediate appointment upon vacancy" as an opportunity to stage the assassination of senators, thus clearing way for an appointee of his or her choosing. 5 months seems a reasonable waiting period to protect us from ill-meaning governors. You can't trust everyone, especially when it comes to politicians...haven't we learned this by now?

    August 27, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Robin

    But wasn't it Kennedy who did not want a special appointment if Kerry won back in 2004? Kennedy wanted an election held back then.

    Oh, wait, Romney was Governor then. Got it.

    August 27, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. ed. Mares

    Funny it was Kennedy that helped put that law into place when a rebuplican gov was in the same situation. Kennedy didn't think a rebuplican should apoint a rebuplican replacement. Now that the tables are turned they want to change the law.

    August 27, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Mike Knox

    Interesting that they want to reverse the law that was ONLY made so that Mitt Romney couldn't appoint a Republican had John Kerry won the presidency. This kind of politics is what makes people cynical. Dems, you made the rules, you need to live by them now.

    August 27, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Tre'

    What this fails to tell you is the Kennedy had the law changed to this when it looked as if Kerry would win in 04. At that time, Romney was governor (a Republican) and Kennedy didn't like the fact that the governer would get to appoint a replacement senator. Now that the gov is democrat, and democrats have a super majority it is no wonder that he wanted an appointment.

    Think on that for a bit.

    August 27, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. OhioGirl82

    Disgusting! I've lived in Massachusetts for 20 years now. The law was the governor made an appointment, but in 2004 it was changed to make sure Romney did not get to make an appointment if Kerry won the presidency. Now it's a democrat in the governor's office again, so they want to change it back. This is wrong - so, so, wrong!

    The majority of the people in this state do NOT want this change. But really - should the people of the state have any say over who represents them?!?! Not in Massachusetts. The politicians always know what is best for us.

    August 27, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Fred

    Wasn't the law changed when John Kerry left the Senate to run for VP? The Democrats didn't want someone appointed due to fear that Republican Governor Mitt Romney would appoint a Republican to the Senate. Sounds like the Democrats want to change the law just to favor them.

    August 27, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. stunned

    This is political hypocracy at its worst. The democratically controlled Massachussets Congress changed the law in 2004 to prevent Republican Mitt Romney from appointing a Republican. Now that they have a Democratic Govenor who can appoint a Democratic replacement, they want to change the law back. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    August 27, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Dennis

    Maybe the Massachusetts legislature could just pass a bill that says if the governor is a Democrat, the governor appoints the new Senator. And if by some freaky chance the governor is Republican, then there is a special election. That way they won't have to keep changing the law to suit their purposes. Regardless of the situation, I think there should always be an election. A U.S. Senate seat is too important to be used as a gift for political payback.

    August 27, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. John

    Patrick says he has no interest in running for the open Senate seat. With a 35% approval rating, and falling, in this near bankrupt state, the people have no interest in him running for anything. There is no way that the state pols are going to let this loser appoint anyone. There is a major power vacuum with Ted gone (combined with a weak gov.), and various state pols will angle to get their person elected. Teddy is history and his feeble attempt to control an appointment from the grave with his sappy letter, is just that….a feeble attempt.

    August 27, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Phil

    What's the point of laws if the Dems are going to constantly change them back and forth depending upon "their" needs. If the law they established 5 years ago is changed, they will become a joke of a political party and the American people may finalize realize how crooked they really are.

    August 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. ichong

    This law shouldn't change even if the Dems in Massachusetts can pretty much pass a law barring Republicans from living in that state if they wanted to. Democrats already have a big leg up with any election anyway. Except Governor for some reason.

    August 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. Emmanuel Goldstein

    Typical Mass. legislative politics. Mass. used to have this option, but the dems in the legislature stripped it so that Romney could not appoint Kerry's successor if Kerry won in 2004. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, well, the dems simply want to change the rules again. Admittedly, this is much ado about nothing since the Dems control the legislature and the state, and the few state republicans left will watch gleefully as the dems once again purport to tell the voters what's good for them.

    August 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. john Smith

    This is nothing but political gamesmanship. If kennedy care that much, he should have resigned months ago, that way his replacement would already be in Washington

    August 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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