Washington (CNN) - A former office manager for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy was indicted Tuesday for allegedly pocketing more than $75,000 in excess pay. A federal grand jury indicted Ngozi Pole, 39, of Waldorf, Maryland, for submitting paperwork that prompted the Senate to pay him more than he was supposed to receive.
A six-count indictment says Pole transmitted information to the Senate Disbursing Office that caused overpayments to him from 2003 to 2007.
Each of five counts of wire fraud lodged against Pole carry up to 20 years in prison. The count of theft of government property carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
(CNN) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley won the Democratic nomination and Sen. Scott Brown won the Republican nod Tuesday night in a special primary election to narrow the field of candidates vying to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Top Republicans and Democrats congratulated the respective winners of the seat long occupied by Kennedy, a fixture in national politics who established himself as one of the most powerful lawmakers to serve in the Senate.
Coakley's Twitter account claimed victory shortly after polls closed Tuesday. "We did it! Thank you for your support!" On her Web site, Coakley released a statement to Massachusetts voters.
"You helped me convince the voters to send a different kind of leader to Washington, one who can see all the possibilities and who will get to work on those problems that have seemed impossible to change," she said.
(CNN) - Massachusetts voters head to the polls Tuesday to narrow the field of candidates vying to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, a fixture in national politics who established himself as one of the most powerful lawmakers to serve in the Senate.
Four Democrats are battling for their party's nomination, while two Republicans are competing for the GOP nod in a special primary election. The general election to fill the remaining two years of Kennedy's six-year term will take place on January 19, 2010.
Attention in the race has focused primarily on the Democratic nomination, which features a congressman, state attorney general, professional basketball team owner and a nonprofit executive.
(CNN) - Ted Kennedy, Jr. said Tuesday he has no plans to endorse a candidate in the field of Democrats vying to replace his father in the U.S. Senate.
"It's hard for me to get excited, honestly, about it, because it's a tough emotional time," Kennedy told the Boston Globe.
A recent poll suggests Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley holds a clear lead in the primary battle with more than all three of her chief competitors combined. Given the state's political demographics, the winner of the Democratic primary is heavily favored to win the general election in January.
"People will make the best decision, I'm confident of that," Kennedy also said. "I know my dad always thought that elections were a great time to size people up. He had to go before the voters nine times, and he had faith in the process, so I'm sure the most qualified person will be elected to this job."
After his father's death in August, there was talk that Kennedy, 48, would pursue a bid to succeed him. While he ultimately ruled out that option, the younger Ted Kennedy told the Globe Tuesday that politics might still be in his future.
"This was not the time, for personal and family reasons," he said. "So close to my father's death, it just didn't feel right to me. But I would be interested down the road, when my kids get older, and I feel like I can bring more to the table through my experiences."
(CNN) - A Massachusetts judge Friday rejected a request from state Republicans to delay the appointment of Paul Kirk as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's interim replacement.
Kirk was formally appointed to the post Thursday, a day after the Massachusetts legislature approved a measure allowing for Gov. Deval Patrick to name an interim replacement until a special election is held in January.
But the legislation was not set take effect until 90 days, and Republicans argued Patrick exceeded his power by formally declaring an 'emergency' and appointing Kirk immediately. Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks argued on behalf of the governor, saying previous rulings have made clear Patrick has broad authority to declare an emergency as he see fits.
Judge Thomas Connolly dismissed the case after hearing arguments from both sides Friday morning.
Kirk will be sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden Friday afternoon.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll suggests that that just three in 10 Massachusetts voters think Gov. Deval Patrick deserves to be re-elected next year, but dissatisfaction with Patrick as governor does not translate into support for a Republican replacement in next year's general election.
Twenty-nine percent of people questioned in a WHDH-TV/Suffolk University survey released Wednesday said Patrick should be re-elected to a second term in 2010, while 56 percent said it's time to elect someone else as Massachusetts governor. Fifteen percent are undecided.
The poll's release came one day before Patrick announced that Paul Kirk would serve as a temporary replacement for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
The survey indicated that Democrats are split over whether Patrick deserves to be re-elected. Three out of four Republicans and six out of 10 Independents say it's time to elect someone else.
According to the poll, 42 percent approved of how Patrick's handling his duties as governor, and 49 percent said they disapprove of how he's doing his job.
But a majority of those questioned, 54 percent, said Massachusetts would not be better off with a Republican as governor, while 35 percent disagreed. And the survey indicated that Patrick leads possible challengers in hypothetical election match ups.
The WHDH-TV/Suffolk University poll was conducted September 12-15, with 500 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
Updated: 4:52 p.m.
(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Thursday he has chosen longtime Kennedy friend Paul Kirk to fill the vacant seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a special election is held in January.
Patrick said Kirk will begin serving immediately, not in the 90 days that the measure passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate allowing for the appointment stipulates. The measure, which passed both chambers Wednesday, includes a provision allowing the interim senator to begin immediately if the governor declares it is an emergency.
"He's a distinguished lawyer, volunteer and citizen and he shares the sense of service that so distinguished Sen. Ted Kennedy," Patrick said. "Paul will not seek the open seat in the special election that's coming up in January but for the next few months he'll carry on the work and focus of Senator Kennedy, mindful of his mission and his values and his love of Massachusetts.
Kirk is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and currently heads the John F. Kennedy library in Boston.
(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.
(CNN) - Massachusetts lawmakers have voted to approve a measure that would give Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim replacement for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a new election can be held - but it's still too soon for the bill's backers to claim victory.
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 have fallen just short of that mark, with a final state House vote of 95-59.
Patrick also has the power to declare an emergency, which would allow the provision to go into effect right away. An immediate appointment would give Democrats a crucial 60th vote in the U.S. Senate as the chamber weighs President Obama's health care proposal.
(CNN) - Pitching legend Curt Schilling has decided not to run for the Massachusetts Senate seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
The former Boston Red Sox ace, an outspoken conservative who campaigned for former Republican presidential candidate John McCain last year, told HBO Tuesday he has ruled out mounting a GOP bid for the coveted seat
"Regardless of the amount of support and outreach that's been given to me, it just did not make sense," Schilling said on HBO's "Joe Buck Live."
Earlier this month Schilling told a Boston radio station he was considering running for the seat, though added the chances were slim. Schilling also said then he had been approached by party leaders - including McCain - who advised he should consider mounting a campaign.
But questions arose whether Schilling, a registered independent, would have been allowed to run on the GOP ticket. A recent poll of Massachusetts voters also suggested the former Red Sox star might not fair well in a state-wide political race, garnering less than a 30 percent approval rating.
Republican State Sen. Scott Brown has announced 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. Primaries are set to be held on December 8 while the general election will take place on January 19.