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. John G

    Honestly it sounds like they are using his death for their own purposes.

    By allowing the (Democrat) governor to appoint someone (probably a Democrat) until the mandatory special election, they secure the 60 vote majority in the senate. If the people want to vote in a Democrat in 5 months let them but many states have done with a single senator for months and Massachusetts can do it too (look at Minnesota).

    I know Senator Kennedy was in favor of the rule change but the fact that a guy who just died was in favor of it is not enough justification to pass the law.

    August 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. Joe Mendolia

    Since Mr. Kennedy was so sick, who really wrote the letter? I doubt it was the humble senator. It always nice to know that laws only count for regular folks and not the previleged political class. Mike Blumberg also comes to mind as well. And we wonder why the American public is so cynical of politicians and lawyers.

    August 27, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. George

    This a pure bull and politics at it's worse. Kennedy himself had the bill changed to have a special election when it suited his political agenda. Now that he has passed he wanted the old law to be re-instated because it again suited his political agenda. Leave the present law on the books and have a special election, quit changing the rules when it suits you, leave it like it is right now!!

    August 27, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. Philippe

    the dems would want to change the law because they are scrared about the people's choice....... and they call the GOP the party of no. I am sure right now that the democratic party is the real party of no...no people choice, no principles, no ethic, no values

    August 27, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. Jamie

    Why not tell the whole story! The Govenor used to be able to appoint an interim senator. But, when the Govenor was Republican Mr. Kennedy didn't want the Govenor to appoint a Republican Senator. Therefore, the law was change to avoid this. Now that the Govenor is Democrat it is OK and the people need a voice. This is crap politics. They (the politicians) do not care about the people. I am really disappointed in the news media. Come on CNN don't take sides. Please report the whole issue. Its a web page. Was it really going to cost more to type a few more lines so the whole issue is known. I think you are taking sides. Sad!

    August 27, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Dave

    This type of political positioning is amazing! First, the democrats oppose this when it is not in their interest, and now they want to reverse a law they instituted. I worry about our nation.

    August 27, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  7. Kathy S. Cloughn

    We need to get someone into the job. Not like we Minnesotans who were without a senator for months. health care has got to move forward. Stop the partisan politics and get moving or we voters will clean house of both parties.

    August 27, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Alfred E. Neumann

    Wouldn't it be nice for Deval Patrick to just follow the law.

    This law was instituted when a Republican was governor.

    Is there no shame in MA politics these days?

    August 27, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. JJ in NY

    Disgusting partisan politics !

    The article obviously leaves out the fact that this political gimmick was instituted by the Dems to prevent exactly what they're trying to do now.

    WHAT HYPOCRISY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 27, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Dr. Dave

    Funny how this article fails to mention that the Mass. Dems changed this law to its current form while Kerry was running for the Presidency to prevent a Republican governor from naming his replacement. Mass. Dems are deftly following their Chicago Bretheren in the corrupt department. Too bad most people in those states chose to look the other way.

    August 27, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Ohio Annie

    Massachusetts and the United States need this vote for serious health reform and climate change legislation. In that Democrats have a clear majority in this state, it would seem that another Democratic appointee in the interim would be consistent with the views of the state.

    I am fairly certain that members of the other political party would not be troubled by doing the same. It is democratic to change the law when the law does not represent the will of the people of the state.

    August 27, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. caminito

    I am not a lawyer, but if Massachussets changes the law now that Kennedy already died, this would b e most surely challenged in court, because tainted by self-interest of the Democratic Party

    August 27, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. RealityKing

    A new law just for Ted, that's retroactive. Priceless..

    August 27, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. Oscar D

    Wow, just 5 years after the Democratic party in Massachussets successfully change the process to deny the Mass. governor the power to appoint a successor, they support changing the law back. I guess the democrats in Massachussets would deny a Republican governor the same power they want to wield themselves.

    This is unethical at best and immoral at worst. My perception is that democrats are power hungry despotic wannabees who are only interested in lording over others.

    “The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself” - Jane Addams

    Oscar D

    August 27, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    What a farce!

    Kennedy (RIP) knew he was terminal for over a year. If he was so concerned about Massachusetts having 2 senatorial votes, he could have tendered his resignation long ago. This would now be a moot point.

    Massachusetts is the state I live in. While it's far more than likely the idiotic voters here will elect another liberal, the law should still be followed. The law says NOTHING about "interim" appointees.

    If this goes through, it will be the ultimate in voter disenfranchisement.

    August 27, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. Wiseguy

    Isn't that convenient to have a law changed that Kennedy himself had changed to prevent something like that happening.

    August 27, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. Dave in Illinois

    This is the same story that ran yesterday and the same comments apply. This is pure politics to keep the Democrats in power in the Senate and they think thay can change the law as they need every time the seat is vacant. It's just as bad as the congressional pork barrel legislation they pass.

    August 27, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. Carlos

    Of course they want to CHANGE the rules now that they don't work best for them, like the fair skinned one said America is the greatest country in the world and I am going to CHANGE that. He is well on his way to making us a third world country.

    August 27, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Bob in Pa

    The Ma legislature just became the poster children for "If you're a Democrat, its different"

    August 27, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Doraine Gordon

    The Republicans will greatly oppose this suggestion because they don't want the Democrats to have a 60 seat majority. That's why they held up Franken's votes in Mn. It isn't going to make any difference. Obama will still manage to get Health Care Reform passed along with other things to benefit our country. This party of no should b ashamed of themselves. They did nothing for the American people the past eight years except help Bush run our country into the ground. Well, we woke up finally and saw the light. Let's keep it that way!!

    August 27, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. k

    Typical liberal hypocracy – Kennedy wanted the law changed when Kerry was running for president so Romney couldn't appoint his replacement should Kerry win and now they want to change it again now that its convinient to the Dems. Why don't they just make a law that makes it illegal for a Republican to be a senator from MA – what a joke MA is... enjoy rotting Teddy!!!!

    August 27, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. Caesar the Great

    Wow, changing a law to help the Dems. Didnt Kennedy help make this rule to hurt Romney and the Repubs when Romney was gov? People talk about Kennedy's bipartisanship, but I frankly dont see it.

    August 27, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. Andre

    Isn't it correct that it was Ted Kennedy himself who pushed for and enabled the current Mass law that sets the date for a special election at 5 months because the purpose of the law at the time was to prevent a Republican Govenor from appointing a Senator to any vacant seat? How typical that prior to his death, Kennedy was pushing to reverse this law to speed up the election so the Dems didn't have to wait 5 months and therby have one less vote in the Senate. More hypocrisy and politics as usual from the Dems without any real condemnation from the media or colleagues.

    August 27, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. Tom Eyemdaman

    Yeah, it's "eminently reasonable" now that it politically favors the democrats. The changed the law in 2004 to favor the Democrats, so now they should have to reap the consequences of their actions.

    The problem is the lack of foresight in lawmakers today. They pass legislation that favors the current political climate without thought of how it will impact the future. Take healthcare for instance...

    August 27, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Rick

    I certainly hope they change the law (again) in massachusetts. What good is the rule of law if you can't change it whenever you feel like it or when it's politically convenient? Is Caroline Kennedy still available? God forbid we'd have a senate without the malodorous presence of a Kennedy in it. Who cares what the law is or the people want?! This is TOO important to leave to the masses. Liberal elitists are the only ones capable of making this decision.

    August 27, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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