September 24th, 2009
08:31 AM ET
5 years ago

Sources: Patrick to pick Kirk as Kennedy replacement

Sources tell CNN longtime Kennedy friend Paul Kirk is the Kennedy family's choice for an interim replacement.
Sources tell CNN longtime Kennedy friend Paul Kirk is the Kennedy family's choice for an interim replacement.

(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will announce an interim replacement Thursday for the U.S. Senate seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and hours before the announcement, two Democratic sources, one of whom is close the Kennedy family, tell CNN that Patrick has picked Paul Kirk.

Wednesday two Kennedy family associates told CNN that Kirk, a longtime senior aide to the late Sen. Kennedy and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is the family's favorite to fill his vacant Senate seat – and that the late senator's sons have relayed this view to Patrick. One source said the late senator's widow, Vicki Kennedy, was among the family members supporting a Kirk appointment.

The announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET at the State House in Boston.

The appointment would give Democrats a crucial 60th vote in the Senate as the chamber weighs President Barack Obama's health care proposal.

The measure, which Wednesday afternoon passed the Massachusetts House and Senate,
would not go into effect for 90 days - a period that ends just a month before the scheduled special election for a permanent successor to complete the remainder of Kennedy's Senate term– unless two-thirds of the state House voted to bypass the delay and enact the measure immediately.

Democrats fell just short of that mark, with a final state House vote of 95-59. But Patrick also has the power to declare an emergency, which would allow the provision to go into effect right away.

Primaries to fill the seat for the remaining three years of Kennedy's six year term are set for December 8, while the general election will take place on January 19.

Republican State Sen. Scott Brown has announced that he will run for the seat on the Republican side, while state attorney Gen. Martha Coakley, Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and Rep. Mike Capuano are battling for the Democratic nomination.

–CNN's John King, Gloria Borger and Rebecca Sinderbrand contributed to this report


Filed under: Deval Patrick • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Dave

    I guess the people of Mass don't care about the Republic and being represented properly. They let the state government walk all over them and not let them vote. Pathetic.

    September 24, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Luke Brown

    Paul Kirk is a true gentleman and great American. He knows Washington and the Senate so he will be able to jump right in. Congratulations to Gov. Patrick for appointing him. The integrity meter in the Senate just got bumped up a few notches.

    September 24, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. reaper

    This is the biggest abuse of power I have seen in a while. Why not just change the law to say that a democrat can be appointed but a republican needs to be voted in.It would save aq lot of time not having to keep changing the law !

    September 24, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. RB

    and you wonder why the public does not trust politicians.

    pass a law (by Democrats) so a republican governor, Romney, cannot appoint to fill an empty senate set that might occur if Kerry wins the presidential election.

    fast forward

    Now the Democrats reverse the law so a Democratic Governor can now fill the vacant seat of Kennedy.

    This happens on both sides and it is disgusting.

    September 24, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Bob in Pa

    This is so unbelievably wrong.

    September 24, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Thomas

    The consequences of this decision may be long lasting. I believe it would have been better to follow the existing law.

    Whether the 2004 law change was good or bad is moot. The law was changed and needs to be followed.

    This was not a wise decision in my opinion

    September 24, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. Patti

    A definite bow to the Kennedy family. He's heavily partisan and fueled by corporate lobbying. Perfect, just what we need...

    September 24, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. turnip

    Would changing laws by Massachussets Hypocrats to suit the National Hypocratic Party's intrests be considered "Change we can believe in"?

    September 24, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Larry

    If it doesn't go into effect for 90 days ... then what's the point of doing it in the first place ???

    September 24, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Phillip Post

    You can see clearly that MA is desperate to have the federal government take over their health care, now that the state has bankrupted itself with state-run health care. Do they not think that the federal health care will also bankrupt them?

    September 24, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. single mom

    I know I should, but I really just can't believe that the Democrats went through with this.
    Changing the rules to suit their needs. The rest of us can't do that. What on earth makes them so special?

    September 24, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    The Kennedy clan apparently thinks this is a hereditary seat and that they can have whoever they want fill it. Didn't we have a revolution about things like this back in 1776? Corrupt, hypocritical democrats.

    September 24, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. indy

    what a farce! so disgusting how these people manipulate the system, all this for a vote! these dems are so blatant about it to they just don't care! this is a total farce! they literally change the law to suit themselves and then just change it again its unbelievable!

    September 24, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Rob Johnson

    Let's just call it like it is–This guy's only real job will be to vote for the health care bill. That was Ted Kennedy's passion and mission, and the only reason Massachusetts is in such a big hurry to fill the post.

    If the Dems can't get to 60 votes without him, they will just have to wait 90 days, I suppose, and focus on rounding up 59 votes before then.

    September 24, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. indy

    wow just shameful they are the ones that changed the law to begin with, so incredible how blatant these criminals are, its just unbelievable!

    September 24, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. machtim akannah

    Politics as usual. Such hypocrisy. It's unbelievable. The passage of the health bill (I hope it does not make it) if it happens will be forever tainted by the political crooks who are stealing the power. CROOKS!

    September 24, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. ANGIE IN PA

    Good now you have 60 seats PASS HEALTHCARE WITH THE PUBLIC OPTION And stop Letting the Republicans bully you! do it now

    September 24, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. John

    Good choice. Someone who will support Ted Kenned's positions, but has no interest in running for office. Great solution for this interim Senator position.

    September 24, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Nick

    Whoops, you forget to mention that the Democrats passed legislation only a few years ago specifically to remove the Governor's authority to replace a senator...........thus avoiding a Republican senator being named by Mitt Romney. A minor journalistic oversight............entirely understandable, particularly if you are hopelessly biased. What a bunch of hypocrites run Massachusetts.........and so much for journalistic integrity. You should be ashamed.

    September 24, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. JakeD

    Mass. Dems are HYPOCRITES!!!

    September 24, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. kaleto

    Typical corrupt northeast democrat politics in action.

    September 24, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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