(CNN) - Two Kennedy family associates tell CNN's John King that Paul Kirk, longtime senior aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, is the family's favorite to fill his vacant Senate seat - and that the late senator's sons have relayed this view to Gov. Deval Patrick.
Asked if Patrick is on board, one of these sources said "it is 75 percent there."
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would allow Patrick to appoint a temporary replacement for Kennedy until an election can be held to fill the seat in January. That measure is now up for final consideration by both chambers of the legislature.
Update: One source tells CNN's Gloria Borger that Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy's widow, also favors the appointment of Paul Kirk to fill her late husband's vacant Senate seat.
(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.
(CNN) - The Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to consider a measure Friday that would allow the governor to appoint an interim U.S. senator to serve in the four month stretch of time before a special election is held to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.
The measure easily passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a 95-58 vote Thursday night. While the bill will be brought to the floor Friday afternoon in the state's Senate chamber, Republicans are expected use a procedural motion to delay a vote until next week, said Dave Falcone, a spokesman for the state Senate Majority leader.
State Democrats are strongly pushing the measure to ensure Massachusetts has two votes in the U.S. Senate during the battle over health care reform. With the now-vacant seat, Democrats only have 59 votes in the U.S. Senate - one short of preventing a likely Republican filibuster against a Democratic health care bill.
But Republicans in Massachusetts argue it was Democrats who changed the Senate succession rules in 2004 to prohibit an interim appointment. At the time Democrats wanted to prevent then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from handpicking a replacement for Sen. John Kerry if the Democratic presidential nominee won the White House that year.
While state Democrats have a clear majority in the Senate (35-5), it remains "speculative" whether there are enough votes to pass the bill, Falcone said.
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick has stated he supports the rule change and would sign the bill if it passes the Senate. Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis is reportedly on the top of the list to be named to the seat should the measure pass, according to the Boston Globe.
(CNN) - A new survey out of Massachusetts suggests the frontrunner to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy is not even a candidate in the race.
According to a new poll from Suffolk University, 59 percent of Massachusetts Democrats said they want former Rep. Joseph Kennedy to replace his uncle in the Senate. Kennedy, who served in Congress for 12 years until 1999, announced last week he would not run for the seat.
Among the current crop of candidates, state Attorney General Martha Coakley has the overwhelming lead, with support from 47 percent of those polled. Rep. Mike Capuano, who will formally announce his bid Friday, places a distant second at 9 percent. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who on Wednesday said he would not run for the seat, drew 6 percent of support.
In a general-election match up, the survey also suggests Coakley would easily defeat Republican State Sen. Scott Brown, 54-20 percent.
Perhaps among the polls most surprising findings is Bay Staters' feelings toward Curt Schilling - the former Red Sox pitcher who earlier this month left open the door for a possible Senate run on the GOP side.
According to the survey, only 29 percent of Massachusetts voters hold a favorable view of Schilling, while 39 percent disapprove of the pitching ace who was instrumental in leading the Red Sox to the World Series in 2004.
The poll surveyed 500 registered voters and was conducted Sept. 12-15. It carries a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
(CNN) - The field of Democratic candidates vying to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy appears to be growing.
Former Rep. Mike Capuano will officially get into the race Friday, his office has announced. Capuano, whose district represents parts of Boston and its immediate suburbs, is little known statewide, according to a new Suffolk University Poll.
Meanwhile, Stephen Pagliuca, the wealthy private equity investor and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, is reportedly also set to jump into the race on the Democratic side. Pagliuca has already lined up a staff and is willing to spend a considerable amount of his own $400 million fortune on the race, according to the Boston Globe.
The Democratic primary for the Senate nomination will take place December 8. The special election to fill the seat is scheduled for January 19, 2010.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The historic Senate Caucus Room was renamed the Kennedy Caucus Room on Monday in honor of the three Kennedy brothers who served in the chamber, according to a statement by Sens. Chris Dodd and John Kerry.
A resolution introduced by Dodd, D-Connecticut, and Kerry, D-Massachusetts, was unanimously passed by the Senate to make the change, the statement said.
Both John F. and Robert Kennedy announced their presidential campaigns in the room, the statement said.
(CNN) - Another Massachusetts Democrat is bowing out of the race to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.
Rep. John Tierney released a statement Monday saying he can "best be of service in the U.S. House of Representatives."
"Since the passing of Senator Kennedy, a great number of people have kindly urged me to run for the United States Senate," Tierney said. "Such an opportunity comes open perhaps only once in one's lifetime. I have given the matter serious consideration, and while thankful for all of the confidence shown, today I am stating that, at this time, I shall not be a candidate in the special election for the U.S. Senate."
Tierney's decision not to run leaves three Democrats likely to seek Kennedy's seat: Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley officially declared her candidacy last week, while Reps. Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano have picked up papers to run for the seat.
INDIANOLA, Iowa (CNN) - Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat who recently filled the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat as chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Sunday that a Senate health-care reform bill would include a "strong" public option and that it would get through by the holiday recess.
He also said it will have support from "some" Republicans, although he said he isn't sure how many.
"I'm ready to carry on [Kennedy's] work, and I'm ready to get a health reform bill passed and to President Obama before Christmas comes this December," Harkin said in a fiery push for health reform during a speech at his annual Steak Fry, a fundraiser for Iowa Democrats.
"That bill - mark my word, I'm the chairman - is going to have a strong public option," he added to thunderous applause.
In a media availability held just prior to his speech, Harkin said he believed the legislation would be able to garner enough support from both sides of the aisle - potentially enough to label it bipartisan when all is said and done.
"We will have some Republicans on our bill," Harkin said.
While reflecting on Kennedy, Harkin called him a "great friend" whose legacy will be tough to live up to.
"We lost a great progressive, a great leader on so many issues...It now falls to me to pick up the torch," Harkin said, adding that he is up to the challenge.
WASHINGTON (CNN)–On his 50th birthday, Massachusetts Republican state Sen. Scott Brown announced his intentions to run for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's vacant Senate seat.
Characterizing himself as a Washington outsider, Brown spoke directly to the people of Massachusetts.
"Already, my opponents have started pandering to the special interests, promising to support their pet projects," Brown said. "That's not the way I operate. Because I don't owe anybody anything, I'm free to tell the truth and fight for what's right for all of the people of Massachusetts, no matter their political party."
Brown said he has a history of bipartisanship as a three-term state senator and former three-term state representative, and spelled out his "core" beliefs.
"I believe that government is getting too big and that the federal stimulus bill made government bigger instead of creating jobs as was supposed to happen," Brown said.
The veteran legislator made his announcement after former Bush administration Chief of Staff Andy Card, dropped out of the race late Friday and encouraged Brown to run for the seat instead.
Another conservative name that's been mentioned is that of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.
On the Democratic side, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has already announced her plans to run for the seat.
Kennedy, 77, died on August 25 after a year-long battle with brain cancer. He had served in the Senate for nearly 50 years - most recently winning reelection in 2006.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Long before Sen. Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, the Massachusetts Democrat had already begun planning aspects of his funeral in anticipation of his eventual death.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, told CNN Friday that Kennedy had informed fellow members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in 2007 that he had been working on his memorial plans as well as reflecting on his legacy, including the core issue he had championed during his time in the Senate: health care.
"Well, I will tell you about two and a half years ago, when Congressman Meehan decided that he was going to become the chancellor of UMass, we had a little delegation dinner at Legal Sea foods and Senator Kennedy was there and he was in good form, and at that time he laid out for us what the service and ceremony was going to be like," Neal said in an interview Friday with Ed Henry and Mark Preston on CNN Radio's "44 with Ed Henry." "And I thought it was remarkable that the story held. None of us ever (thought) we should trespass on what he was saying that evening. And he talked about his legacy and what he had done, and he certainly raised the health care issue."
Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Massachusetts, announced in the spring of 2007 that he was resigning from office to become the next head of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Meehan's final day in Congress was July 1 of that year.