August 31st, 2009
03:30 PM ET
5 years ago

MA lawmakers set date for succession bill hearing

Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to announce the date of the special election to replace Ted Kennedy's seat.
Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to announce the date of the special election to replace Ted Kennedy's seat.

(CNN) - Two Massachusetts political sources say the Joint Elections Committee in the state legislature plans to hear a Senate succession
bill in just a week and a half.

The decision to consider the measure on September 9, just after lawmakers return from break, highlights the growing momentum to pass a change allowing the appointment of an interim senator to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat until a special election can be held to replace him.

Monday afternoon, Gov. Deval Patrick announced a new vote to fill the seat would take place on January 19.

One source close to the Kennedy family said former Rep. Joe Kennedy, whose name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for his uncle, is not eager for the job.

"Joe is reluctant," said the source. "The question is, does the pressure rise to a point where he feels he has to do it? Things here are too new to be able to answer that."

The senator's widow Vicki, who has gone to Maine for a few days following her husband's burial, has also been considered a likely temporary replacement for her husband. The source said that they believed she might consider the post.

"My impression today is that she would take (the appointment) if offered because of his legacy," said the source. "But we all have to remember she has not had time to grieve and in some ways this is just now hitting her. ...... But my gut is if it is offered to her she will take it."

Gov. Patrick said Monday that Kennedy has told him she is not interested in a temporary appointment to the seat. He said they did not discuss specific individuals for the seat.

Other veteran Democrats have been investigating, or having their allies investigate, possible Senate bids.

Reps. Marty Meehan and Ed Markey would bring sizable campaign war chests to a Senate contest, with about $5 million and $3 million respectively, according to the source. Reps. Michael Capuano and Steve Lynch are also considered likely candidates, and have been exploring quietly for some time. Also considered a very likely contender: Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose campaign assets would include her Middlesex County base, statewide experience and probably status as the only Democratic woman in the race.

–CNN's Jessica Yellin contributed to this report

(Updated 3:30 p.m.)


Filed under: Deval Patrick • Massachusetts • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Idiot_Pelosi

    Here we go, the UN-transparent DUMOCRATS want to change the law that they themselves enacted in 2004 because it will suit them now, where it didn't suit them in 2004.

    CROOKED POLITICS from a bunch of crooks.

    August 31, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Jackie in Dallas

    I know that there is a lot of GOP flak about this, and it is true that the Dems have worked this in the opposite direction when it benefited them. However, leaving a Senate seat vacant for months at this crucial time with the economic situation and the wars, not to mention all the other elements in play seems foolhardy.

    August 31, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Lil Jimmy

    This is ridiculous. They changed the law in 2004 in case Kerry got elected because Romney was governor and would have appointed a Republican replacement. Now there s a Democrat as governor and they want to change it back. Ironically it was Ted K behind the push in 2004 and again he tried it months before his passing. Typical liberals, change the rules since they usually can't get their way when it's left to the voters.

    August 31, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Nick

    Where is the outrage and sarcasm from CNN here? They changed the law to "protect" John Kerry's seat and now they want to change it back to further their own world view. Shame on them.

    August 31, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. single mom

    If the Massachussetts legislature passes a change in law, the second in five years, to suit the Democrats, then I will truly lose what little faith I have in them to run/lead this country.

    They already changed it in 2004 when they were so sure Kerry would win the White House and they didn't want Romney as a Republican governor to appoint a replacement.;

    Enough already! You made your bed. Deal with it.

    August 31, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Johnny DC

    Do it, Massachusetts. Please pass the succession reformation bill.

    That will show, as clear as day, that the Democrats (at least within the state of Massachusetts) are as manipulative and shady as they paint the GOP to be.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO good way to spin this decision in a positive light. You can't have your cake, eat it too, and retain the majority, Democrats.

    August 31, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Todd from CO

    What is there to hear??? The law that Kennedy championed in 2004 is very clear requiring a special election. What a bunch of self serving, politically expedient hypocrites. If Mass rewrites the law yet again they should at least include language that states the law can be switched back again when it no longer benefits the dems.

    August 31, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. duh ray ray

    Patrick will make a great President in 2020.

    August 31, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Tim Carrier

    It would help to leave laws as they are instead of trying to play them to each political whim that occurs.

    August 31, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Gary

    Changing the rule in the middle of the game? This is sad that the Democrats won't allow an interim election like the law says (and they themselves pushed for!). This makes the Democratic party look pathetic and hypocritical. I'm always in favor of election over appointment. This whole strategy just stinks.

    August 31, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Obama Victim

    Sleazy.................Democrats...................sorry...that was redundant

    August 31, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Bubble of Sanity

    Hypocrisy, thy name is partisan politics. There would be no problem right now if Massachusetts had kept their original laws which allowed the governor to appoint a temporary replacement until a special election was held. Unfortunately, at the time, there was a Republican governor, so the Democratic legislature changed a long-standing law.

    This may be the most blatant and shameless display of selfish partisan politics since the DeLay plan gerrymandered Texas' congressional districts in favor of Republicans.

    The current drive is not to "change" the law, but to restore it. I think that the Democrats made their bed on this one, and should have to lie in it for a while.

    August 31, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Moderate Democrat

    A few stories down, we have the advocates of all out torture telling us "Breaking the law is a wonderful and christian thing to do when it comes to torture".

    Now let's watch the retard brigade walk in here, we'll see some of those same morons tell us how we can't just 'change the laws' to fit our needs", how we have to 'follow the law'.

    Republicans...the only time they are happy is when they are either letting a building get attacked or torturing someone.

    August 31, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. bozo the obama

    let the corruption continue, but we need to hurry.

    August 31, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Steve

    MA Dems are absolutely PATHETIC!

    August 31, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Phil

    If the state Dems rewrite the law AGAIN, they will lose all credibility with their constituents in MA.

    August 31, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Tom Paine

    Teddy changed the law in 2004 to help Democrats. Now, the Democrats want to change the law back to benefit themselves.

    Typical. Democrats are always putting their own interests first.

    August 31, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Kevin in Ohio

    We should uphold and respect the law as Senator Kennedy himself helped create it. If it was OK that a Republican governor could not appoint someone, then it is just as OK a Democrat governor can't. Anything else is political hypocrisy to the greatest possible degree. If this is allowed to go through, then there will be a price to pay in 2010.

    August 31, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Deuce

    The Power-Game. The Eve of Destruction for the USA. Your sinking Fast..

    August 31, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. James

    I am a great fan of Kennedy and his work, and hope that whoever is ELECTED also will further his causes.

    I write this though in opposition to people making laws to cover past situations. This slaps in the face of our Democracy. Another example is also going on right now, which I invite any attorney to bring suit against:

    Tallahassee Florida, has had a city commissioner quit recently. The rest of the commissioners have since passed a law that says THEY can appoint his successor until the next election. This is contrary to the existing city charter, and usurps the power given to the citizens of Tallahassee. The reason given for the new law was to avoid the expense of a special election. Sometimes Democracy is not cheap, but It's ALWAYS the right thing to do. Please, anyone help stop this!

    August 31, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Gee, waiting until a special election was held seemed OK to the Democrats when they changed the law 5 years ago (with Teddy leading the charge) when Romney was Governor. Now they can't afford to wait? I guess they want Republicans to follow one set of rules, while they just make up thier own.

    August 31, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. LIP

    What is good for the goose (Romney) is good for the gander (Patrick) meaning that the Democrats should not be allowed to undo what they did to thwart the Republicans just four short years ago. If they succeed, it rises to the level of being criminal.

    August 31, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Dave in Illinois

    This is what our elected "leaders" are all about; How do I stay in power?

    I gerrymander election districts no matter how ridiculus the result.
    I change the succession rules regardless of the arguments I made the last time I proposed the opposite switch.
    I approve pork barrel earmarks to bribe my constituents despite the cost to the nation as a whole.
    I propose new entitlement programs to bribe voters based on specious logic with no regard for their cost.
    I campaign on a platform of hope and change and initiate neither.

    August 31, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Maria - Proud Democrat

    Gov. Patrick = new Gov. BLAGO

    Massachusetts = New Dirty politics of Chicago

    SHAME ON YOU Gov PLAGO!!

    EVERYONE is supposed to follow the law....not change it at will every 2-4 years to fit their needs.

    August 31, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. machtim akannah

    I cannot imagine the uproar if the MA governor was a Republican and this change was going forward. HYPOCRISY. How can the public have any respect for any of the politicians aka crooks and opportunists. The Kennedy legacy touted as outstanding during the funeral will certainly be tarnished further if the standing special election bill promoted by him is now overturned in the interest of Democratic expediency. What a croc.

    August 31, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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