September 22nd, 2009
03:20 PM ET
4 years ago

Massachusetts Senate clears way for Kennedy replacement

The Boston Globe is urging Gov. Deval Patrick to pick Michael Dukakis to fill Kennedy's seat until January.
The Boston Globe is urging Gov. Deval Patrick to pick Michael Dukakis to fill Kennedy's seat until January.

(CNN) - The Massachusetts Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would allow the state's governor to appoint an interim replacement to hold the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat until a special election is held in January.

The measure, which won the approval of the Massachusetts House last week, is heavily backed by White House officials, who want to ensure Democrats have 60 votes in the Senate - the necessary number to stave off a Republican-led filibuster - when the chamber takes up a health care reform bill later this fall.

The bill, which passed on a 24-16 vote, must now be voted on again by both chambers as a procedural matter before reaching Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick's desk. Patrick, a longtime Obama ally, has said he will sign the measure and will move quickly to fill the vacancy.

In an editorial Tuesday, the Boston Globe urged Patrick tap former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis for the post.

"The ideal candidate for the interim job would have a high profile, significant policy expertise, and a record of political independence – but no further political ambitions," the editorial said. "Dukakis is the most logical choice; indeed, he may be the only one who meets all the relevant criteria."

Dukakis, currently a professor at Northeastern University in Boston, has repeatedly ducked questions about whether he'd be interested in the four-month-long job.

"I'm not going to talk about that," he told the Boston Globe last week. "The one thing that's important is that the bill gets passed."

A special election to fill the rest of Kennedy's term is set for January 19, with primaries slated for December 8.


Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Bryce

    Dukakis would be a great choice!

    September 22, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Hugo

    This is great Democrats changing the law to suit them as often as the wind blows while at the same time ACORN appoints their own Massachusetts AG as an investigator. CNN where is some reporting on the Limited ACORN investigation? We wouldn't want to dig too deep now would we and expose Mr. Obama? The American taxpayer may find out how badly these people have been misappropriating our tax dollars to campaign fund raisers and such. "I wasn't aware of how much Federal monies ACORN was receiving" yeah right, Obama isn't a LIAR!

    September 22, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. From one bad Governor to another

    I am a resident of this state and have to deal with these gutless, liberal cowards day after day and they have no IDEA the backlash that is coming their way, you think there is national anger, nope, ONCE Cadillac Deval picks Dukakis, the MARCH will have begun.

    Deval, start the caddy and grab the drapes, you will be the first one we bag, this state is FINALLY going to really change and you are number one, see you in 2010.

    I see it on the local newspaper blogs, at the townhalls, churches and bars, WE ARE COMING AFTER THE CORRUPT LIBERALS IN THIS STATE.

    September 22, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Fedup

    What a joke. They, the Democrats changed it....the 5 month wait... so that if John Kerry was elected president then Governor Romney couldn't appoint a Republican to fill his seat. And, now to "suit themselves, they changed it back! What a bunch of hypocrites and shame on Obama and his White House! It is a sad day in the US.

    September 22, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. GuyInVA

    Pathetic hypocrites. If the lefties have ever shown their true colors, it is in this case. Ted Kennedy would be proud.

    September 22, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Jack

    What a superb demonstration of hypocracy. Unbelievable that in this time that a group can change a law to suit them one year to prevent the governor from appointing a replacement and to claim the high ground and then turn around and change it back again claiming the high ground. The only thing these "Democrats" should claim is the absolute record for hypocracy. Terrible, absolutely terrible. The governor should veto the bill and see what happens.

    September 22, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. J.P.

    Laws = legal restraints for "the little people," something Democrats don't have to be burdened with.

    Alinksy would be proud: The ends justify the means.

    The line for "American Revolution 2.0" forms up at the ballot box on Nov 2, 2010.

    September 22, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Can't wait to see what FOX says about this...they called the flag the "Stars & Bars" the other night, and yet, people will still pretend that those rabidly opposed to Obama and the Dems aren't baiting the southern racists with virulent idiocy....go figure...

    September 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Matt

    Why are they claiming to be concerned about "a record of political independence" if the sole purpose of a temporary appointment is to act as a rubber stamp?

    September 22, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Sounds like a communist country that keeps changing the rules to keep other parties from entering elections!"

    Reading comprehension is on the decline in America. This is for 4 months UNTIL THE SCHEDULED ELECTION IN WHICH ANYONE CAN RUN.

    That being said, fat chance of a GOPer getting more than a handful of votes. Makes sense though: MA is the repository of some of the greatest educational institutions in the country, so put the two and two together.

    September 22, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Matt Urich

    This bill only passed through the Massachussetts senate because it has a Democratic majority and those Democrats know that their governor is also Democratic. This means that since the bill has passed, the governor will most likely select a Democratic politician to fill the vacant spot made absent by the late Ted Kennedy's death. had Massachussetts had a Republican governor at the time, this democratic legislature would not have passed this bill in fear that the governor would pick a Republican replacement. This just goes to show how politics is not necessarily moving in a direction towards the most fair and proper political procedures, but instead whichever ones will yield the majority party the most power.

    September 22, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Ken

    Massachusetts once again shows the rest of the nation that politics trumps good government. This state is willing to change a law, within 4 years, to benefit the party in power. Somewhere out there, someone is singing a country song that goes....if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything'. As long as it pleases the Kennedys and their political machine, it should please the good people of Massachusetts. What a sad sorry joke.

    September 22, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "They, the Democrats changed it….the 5 month wait… so that if John Kerry was elected president then Governor Romney couldn't appoint a Republican to fill his seat. "

    Precisely. And by doing so, they protected the stated interestes and preferences of the majority of MA voters, who would have been off-the-charts agnry at Romney for ignoring what THEY want in order to play political one-upsmanship games by appointing a GOPer.

    September 22, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Luke

    This is what the people of Mass wanted, we run our state with the most equality, so everyone back off.

    September 22, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. valwayne

    What a corrupt state MA has become. Can you imagine what our founding fathers like John Adams would think about a Democratic party, Legislature, and Governor that change the laws at a whim to suit their own short term political desires. Its exactly the type of corrupt arbitrary law making that caused MA to rebel against King George in the first place. For Shame!

    September 22, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. mypitts2

    Supporters of a party whose last president was basically given the 2000 election by officials in his brother's state should have very little to say about proper procedure.

    September 22, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Frank

    Excellent choice!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Leif

    Whoa whoa: "Dukakis, currently a professor at Northeastern University outside Boston, has repeatedly ducked questions about whether he'd be interested in the four-month-long job."

    Northeastern is NOT outside of Boston. It's right in the middle of the city. Boston College is outside of Boston.

    September 22, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Why don't they just work on a parallel bill to take away that appointment power just as a soon as a Republican gets back into the Governor's Office? Let's all save ourselves lots of time and energy and craft the framework of another exercise in hypocrisy and save the future legislators the trouble.

    September 22, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Lynne

    Stop with your whining...the Republicans would have done exactly the same thing.

    September 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Raise your hand if you think the majority of MA residents DON'T want 2 votes on health care reform.

    Now, if your hand is up, please reach down and take off your tinfoil hate.

    September 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Doug, New Jersey

    Tell you what, republicans wont object, we know this is a communist state. However one condition, Mr. Dukakis must ride from the P.R.O.M to Washington in his famous tank , Deal? :)

    September 22, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. ETM

    Michael Dukakis is a good man and this will be a fine capstone to his career. Here's hoping he is the 60th vote to pass comprehensive health care reform this fall. After the way the Republicans smeared him in 1988 when he ran for president, this would be poetic justice.

    September 22, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. scott in atlanta

    Wow... Where were all these "conservatives" (and I use the term loosely) when Tom Delay was changing voting districts in Texas to ensure Republican victory? Talk about hypocrits.

    Republican will even lie to themselves, obviously.

    September 22, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Idiot_Pelosi

    This shows how crooked the DUMocRATS are in MASS.

    First, the vote on a law to keep a REPUBLICAN GOV from appointing a senator back in 2004, now they re-change the law here in 2009 because it suits them.

    So, fairness doesn't exist in MASS due to arrogant DUMocRATic politicians.

    Crooks.

    September 22, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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