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)
  1. Bill

    This deal gets funnier and funnier. It could be a sitcom but it's too strange to be believable.

    August 26, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. JerseyMike

    this is a message to all sitting Democratic govenors.


    You hear this Govenor Manchin. Robert Byrd's not getting any younger. CHANGE YOUR LAWS to suit the Democrats whims.

    August 26, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Jeff

    Kennedy is the one who want to change so the governor couldn't appoint a replacement when it was a Republican who was appointing the seat. Now they want to repeal it so a Democrat can appoint whoever. Maybe they know that the Republican will likely win in a special election to stop the socialize take over by Obama.

    August 26, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Dino

    Now, you right-wingers are concerned with law and order and playing by the rules. Where were these speeches when Holder announced he was going after the law breakers that spent the past 8 years torturing people?

    August 26, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. valwayne

    Massachusetts just changed the law from letting the Governor appoint the replacement to filling a vacancy wiht a special election. Now they have a new Democratic Governor so they are changing it again. Isn't ping-ponging your laws based on which party the Governor belongs to a little corrupt? Like 3rd world country corrupt?

    August 26, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Artie

    Yeh ; bend ,twist and break the law all in the pursuit of liberal power!

    August 26, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Right Leaning Independent

    Well since I am against this proposed health care handout, I hope that Mass sticks to their law and does not change the law every time it suits them!! We can not afford the plan with our $9 trillion dollar deficit looming and the majority of Americans do not want it!!!

    August 26, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. annie s

    I wish all the conservatives here would stop getting their panties in a twist. It's Massachusetts. However Senator Kennedy's replacement comes about, he or she will be a Democrat. I'm for sooner rather than later, as there is important work to be done. We MUST pass serious health care reform now.

    August 26, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Amazing how democrats are so very willing to change laws for political gain.

    Shameful. Vote the entire lot out in 2010.

    August 26, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Russ

    Oh, come on. If this was a Republican, no one would even look at the law, they would just appoint someone of their choosing. Kinda the way Bush and Cheney run their administration. Bush would look at Cheney and say what should we do? Cheney would reply, whatever we want. Bush might say, isn't their a law against that? Cheney would just, we'll just do what we want anyway.

    August 26, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Ohio Annie

    I'd like to see a surrogate for Senator Kennedy be allowed to vote for improved health care coverage, which it seems is something that Massachusetts would favor.

    August 26, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. steve

    I'm ashamed to live in MA. This is some of the most corrupt bull I have ever heard. Any honest person would not have flip flopped when the law became inconvenient, but Kennedy was on the way out door when he hatched this plot so he wouldn't have to deal with it when he's gone. I'm surprised the Democrats even took this idea seriously. If they are confident enough to try to reverse this law that they made just a few years ago, they should be confident enough to win the public election.

    August 26, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. joe m

    so let's see. when romney possibly could have appointed a republican to replace an open spot before 2004 the dems decide that the rule was not a good one so they change it so that it now requires for a special election to fill an open seat. now that they need a seat held by one of their bullwarks becomes vacant, the democratic governor decides that the rule is not good, so he's willing to change it AGAIN.

    this is a clear case of political expediency. if the current law requires a special election let that be the mechanism that is used to fill the open seat. if a republican governor were making this move, all hell would already be breaking loose on the left. someone ought to remind the dems of the old saying, 'be careful what you (ask) for..." in this case they asked for a change of rule and now that change can actually end up hurting them.

    August 26, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Darlene

    Why are all the republicans against this didn't Bush and Chaney do the same thing while in office. We'll just change it to suit our needs.

    August 26, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. bern

    Massachusetts can change the law as much as they want. the same holds fo rany other state.

    I hope the law will revert to temporary appointment. Massachusetts needs two votes for health care insurance reform.

    August 26, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "You'd think that reaching across the aisle might involve convincing at least one GOP Senator to vote for a bill, wouldn't you?"

    Not when all that ever happens is your hand getting slapped. Nobody with a brain in their head believes for a second that the GOP intended to capitulate to overtures of bipartisanship received from a black liberal Democrat POTUS or a Dem supermajority in both houses of Congress (let alone both at the same time), so you can dry your crocodile tears, get back in the GOP clown car and drive off into the sunset.

    August 26, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Moderate Democrat

    Yesterday, there was a story about an investigation to see if any laws were broken when the previous administration (Bush/Cheney) condoned and steadfastly pursued the practice of torture. The republican posters came on and started telling us how it was patriotic to break the law, how we didn't have to conform to existing laws.

    Now many of those same morons are back, this time telling us that we need to follow the law.

    I'm fine with a special election, per law. But some of you republican retards need to get more consistant. Your bias is evident, and as such, your opinion is void.

    August 26, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Jeanne

    After what we saw in Illinois and New York for Senate seats, I would want to be able to vote for the successor. Any other way and they're not representing the people.

    August 26, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Amazing how democrats are so very willing to change laws for political gain."

    Changing it requires following legal legislative procedures. That is 100% preferably to simply ignoring it and doing what you want anyway like the GOPers.

    August 26, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Proud Member..Party of No

    lol...typical democrats......always lying, cheating and stealing. The corruption never ends with the shameless democrats.

    August 26, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Johnny DC

    How many times do the Democrats have to cheat the system under the radar?

    Somehow the GOP "stole" both of GWB's election victories, right? Right.

    But the flip-flopping of this rule back and forth to secure and extra Senate seat isn't any worse? Really?

    Just a few years ago, Massachusetts legislators voted to take power away from their governor, who happened to be Republican. Now they're voting to give back power to a governor who happens to be Democrat.

    Disgusting politics that should not be tolerated by anybody. Vote this governor out, vote these legislators out.

    August 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. jjwiggins

    ok so conservajerks want to talk about hypocrites and breaking laws well i agree with you let this current law stand. but i better not read one post from you jerks bashing attny gen. Holder for going after bush cheney and the boys for torture the law is the law right . oh yeah pleas spare me the bush kept us safe bull as the son of a command sergant major currently in iraq serving i can say my father kept me safe.

    August 26, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Pepou

    It is a very reasonable proposal. Of course the Republicans and the party of NO have their answer ready. Frankly who cares about their howling ?

    August 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Dan, WA

    Last time Democrats did not want it because nominee would be republican since Mitt Romney was Governor. Now they want it because they need a seat in the senate to vote. It is sickening. Democrats will always look at what side the bread is buttered and they do not care about rules. Barack Obama also is included in such dirty tricks.

    August 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Deborah Black

    All of you screaming about bending the law; are the very same ones who scream about Eric Holder being shameful and despicable for looking into the total abdication of any law by them, during the Bush Cheney torture years.
    The people of Massachutts have the right to their full representation in the Senate during this important time. I hope they find a way to do that, until an election can be held.

    August 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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