August 26th, 2009
02:48 PM ET
13 years ago

Patrick supports changing law to allow for interim senator

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gov. Deval Patrick is in favor of a state law that would allow him to appoint an interim replacement."]

(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he is in favor of a change in state law supported by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy that would allow him to appoint an interim replacement to fill the state's vacant Senate seat.

Under current Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days after a Senate seat becomes vacant, with the winner serving the remainder of the former senator's unexpired term.

"I believe that the senator's request to permit the governor to appoint someone to serve for that five months until a special election was entirely reasonable," Patrick said in an interview with Boston radio station WBUR. "I think particularly now when you think about the momentous change legislation that is pending in the Congress today, Massachusetts needs two voices. "

Asked if he would push the state legislature to make that change, Patrick said he would, and that he would sign the bill into law.

Last week, Kennedy - who died Tuesday at age 77 after serving nearly five decades in the Senate - urged that the law be changed to allow the governor to appoint a temporary replacement until the special election can be held.

Filed under: Deval Patrick • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (105 Responses)


    Oh thats rich after we are learning Bush Cheney and the Republican congress BROKE THE LAWS in more ways then one gotta love it besides mass doesnt want a Republican Senator you really think the People of MA Will replace Sen Kennedy with a Republican KEEP DREAMING!

    August 26, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. mjm

    When you need 60 to pass your bill, your bill isn't worth passing.

    When you change a law to suit the way the wind is blowing....well, that's called being a Democrat.

    How come the Republicans never needed 60 to pass a bill? They had far less of a majority from 2001-06 then the Dems have now.

    All we hear about from the Dems is what a disaster the past 8 years were. The truth is, the Dems were right there the whole time.

    August 26, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. LIP

    The "fix" is good to go

    August 26, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Mt Rainier, Seattle

    I can smell the stink of Gov Patrick and his plan all the way out West! But it's just like the democrats to change everything as the wind blows. That's what Obama has been trying to do since he was elected but he's finding out that on-the-job-training is tough work when you're under a microscope all the time. The democrats didn't want Kennedy as their man, and chose Carter instead. One-term and out. They didn't want Hillary and chose Obama. One-term and out. Massachusetts has too many good people I'm sure, but they really need to look at what they're doing to themselves.

    August 26, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. hypocracy from the other party!

    oh and just so you repubs know!!!!!! Your previous governor Mitt Romney implemented this law in the first place when John Kerry was running for office in 2004, not a democrat but a republican gov. So this happens more then you think, the law should have been changed back originally

    August 26, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. stormerF

    How much does he want to appoint me to the senate for the remainder of kennedy's term?

    August 26, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Confused in Neb.

    They JUST changed the law to benefit themselves a few years ago, now they want to change it back what a bunch of crap...

    August 26, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Reatte Beaumont Texas

    Should have figured that the good old demo's would change the law for themselves but if it were the repub they would start the oh no we can't do that it's not right and against the law to try and change that

    There is only one thing left to say is

    GOS HELP US ALL WE ARE GOING TO NEED IT FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a bunch of weasels on both sides of the gorvernment

    August 26, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. greg

    Are we to believe the same man who was too sick to attend his own sister's funeral 2 weeks ago was so concerned about maintaining the Democratic senate majority that he made this special request of the governor last week? Please excuse me if I seem skeptical.
    Absent a valid or logical argument, using emotionally charged arguments to justify changing exisiting law is a tried and true left wing tactic. After all, the end justifies the means.

    August 26, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Hotdog

    The problem is that the law differ from state to state. There should be a national uniform law that would address the current issue that exist in Massachusetts. Most states allow the Governor to select an interim senator in in case of death; therefore, it makes no difference if the Governor is a Democrat or a Republican. Some of the comments listed here is a cleas display of ignorance.

    August 26, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Jean

    Much as I'd like to see a Dem in office quickly, I think it's a poor idea to change the law. Were the departing Senator and the Governor of different parties, this could play havoc in the Senate.

    Let the people speak with their votes, as soon as practicality allows.

    August 26, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. dan

    This is crazy. When a Republican was Gov he wanted it changed to special election and now with a Dem Gov they want to change it back to special appointment. How about analyzing the proper way to do it and choose not changing based on who is in office. Its nice to see the Dems shifting what they believe in based on what suits them not what is the right way to handle it. If its proper now for the Gov to appoint someone it should have been proper when it was a Repub Gov, it it wasnt good enough then its shouldnt be now.

    August 26, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. fellow from chicago

    Can't believe how brazen and crooked the Dems are. This is the most hypocritical move I've seen yet out of the party. If they're still in existence after 2012 I'd be amazed.

    August 26, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Pamela

    Is there anything that makes Republicans happy??? They grumble about everthing. Let's keep our eye on the ball. People are perishing because of the bickering. We have all had to make concessions over the years. IF our children have a mounting debt to pay, they will rise to the ocassion...we did! That's who we are.
    What this has been reduced to is nit-picking. For all we as a nation have been through, we have survived. Health care will make us stronger in all ways. No one is expendable. We are One Nation Under God...Indivisable (that means undivided)...So let's get back to what is on the table now.

    August 26, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Gerald

    Replace Barney Frank while your at it

    August 26, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. gary

    Democrats trying to change the rules to serve there power. They need to focus on doing what the people want not what makes them more powerful. The rules say a special election and anything but a special election will look like abuse of power. The law suits would keep it tied up for months.....just do the election and stop trying to manipulate the government for power ....this type of stuff is exactly why we don't trust the government to be involved in our healthcare.

    August 26, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Darth Vadik, CA

    I love the Kennedy's but you can't just change set laws for particular cases, isn't that what Bush tried to do.

    August 26, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. Dan Holiday

    So, when a republican was governor, Teddy asked that they make it so the governor could not appoint a replacement senator? Now that a democrat is governor he wanted it changed back? Hypocrisy much? This is absurd. Any liberal that thinks there is merit in this type of politics should do me a favor. Move out of my country. You are pert of the problem. Also, to those that post things such as "Republicans who are funded by the Major Insurance Companies", and "idiocy of the Republican hate machine" are so immature and childish. Name calling? Really? Hey I can do it too?...let's see...what can I write?... Oh, I know. Democrats love killing babies (wait, that won't work, it is true ). I got it. Democrats love to promote failure and punish success ( Wait, another truthful statement ). Democrats promote racism with policies such as affirmative action ( yet another truth ). Democrats love to be thrifty with your money and read every bill they Finally, I got it right! hahaha.

    August 26, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. this black liberal hates Obama

    Not if Mitt Romney has anything to say about it!

    August 26, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. JerseyMike

    Barack Obama and his chicago cronies would be proud!!!

    Rules are for Republicans.

    Circumventing Rules are for Democrats!

    August 26, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. BILL, WI

    Why have laws if you only change them to suit your current desires.

    August 26, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. haren

    Those who are against this should know that governor is filling a democrats seat which is selected by voters of Massachusetts.

    August 26, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Justin

    When I left Massachusetts, I didn't know that the Commonwealth would elect a man like Deval Patrick. Well, this is what this state gets: more debt, more taxes, and a more authoritarian government. I know the Democrats say they are the "party of the people" except when they believe they can appoint someone better.

    Anyways, this state is a microcosm of what Pres. Obama wants and believes in. Health Care that crushes the government's spending, more tax burden, and more authority to the head of state to bypass the constituents.

    August 26, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Phil in KC

    If I remember correctly, Kennedy advocated a provision that whoever was appointed could not run to fill that seat when the special election were held. I think this would allow the state of Massachusetts to have the representation they deserve while maintaining the intent of the original law. I see nothing wrong with that.
    Are there politics at work here? Probably – but that's the name of the game, after all – politics.

    August 26, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Alfred E. Neumann

    Gov Patrick – follow the law!

    Shame on you if you don't!

    August 26, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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