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

Sources: Patrick to pick Kirk as Kennedy replacement

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Now if a Republican Legislature and Governor pulled a similar stunt to this, the DNC would be calling for a revolution in the streets.

    September 24, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  2. Ryan

    Just hold the election as per the law. It's sad that the Democrats will do anything to keep the power on their side. 2010 is coming soon and we can then stop any further damage and in 2012 we can reverse the rest of it.

    September 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  3. travis

    i think that the dems are just like the republicans power hungry seems too me that they changes the laws too make sure it fits them need too be fair when john kerry almost won had too hurry up and change the laws so that it couldn't happen and cuase the shoe is on the other foot that have too hurry up and change things again hmmm wonder why the world hates us right here is a prime ex. of why i think someone should cast a vote the people of that state should hold elections early verus appointing someone there after all remember the people have the say not the law makers the vote should stay democrat till the election then if the people vote a republican then its a republican

    September 24, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. Mississippi Miss

    Time will tell that it will be a great day for America, when this no good very bad health care legislation gets defeated. While it is very tragic that the great senator Ted Kennedy did not get to vote for this bill, as much as he wanted to do so, it would also be tragic and devastating, if they do not open their eyes to the real motivation that is behind this mess.

    No reasonable person would pass this bill as is.. let us be diligent to see what they make of it after all of the amendments go through.

    God bless America (even though many do not even acknowledge his existence) they are his creation.

    September 24, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |


    Maybe now we'll have another vote for REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM!

    September 24, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. Embarrased to live in Massachusetts

    I live in Massachusetts and I feel as though I don't live in the United States of America. I don't know any other state that would change the law so the people's voices can't be heard, it's like socialism, where the people have no say in what happens to their lives. The real losers in all of this are the people of Massachusetts. The state of Massachusetts forcebly takes money out of our paychecks and then denies us the right to vote. My family and I are looking to relocate to a state where we will have more freedom.

    September 24, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Rick

    Nice to see that democracy is still alive and well in the socialist republic of Massachusetts. Even from the grave Teddy is still corrupting the electoral process in his home state. This is just a blatant slap in the face to the constitution and the people it represents.

    September 24, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    SHOOT and I thought he was gonna pick me!

    September 24, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. 2010 is going to be a bloodbath

    The emergency option is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE USED FOR THIS, but the gutless weazels will do it any way, my hope is the Republicans fight it in court for as long as possible so that this loser does not get to vote on anything as he was not voted in by "we the people".

    Nice wording CNN, "Patrick picked Kirk", umm, NO he didn't, he wanted Dukakis but the never worked a day in their life Kennedy's TOLD him to pick Kirk.

    We left England to get away from a monarchy, but the gutless liberals that INFEST this state seem to think the Kennedy name means what it used too.

    Good showing of fortitude Patrick, if Obambi calls, you should answer the phone as you are first on the "list" to go NEXT YEAR.

    September 24, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Rick

    "Kennedy family associates have said Paul Kirk is the family's choice"
    This is a quote from your article. Since when did it become the choice of a non-elected person or family to dictate the replacement of a state senator. This sounds more like a monarchy than a democracy, yet we must not forget what state we are referring to so I guess its not too far out of the realm to see this come to fruition. How can the people of MASS. be so blind to give up their right to elect their own senator.

    September 24, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. chicago guy

    It's a shame when the politics of divisiveness become so obvious. The Governor has no power to choose because "we" don't want a Republican to choose. Let's change that law because we now have a governor who is a Democrat.

    Shame on you Massachusetts. This represents the worst of partisanship.

    September 24, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. Phil

    What a bunch of hypocrits in Massachusetts. Dirty politics and government at its best. Why not just put a clause in the new law and state it is law until the Democrats decide they need to change it again to suit their needs. Massachusetts citizens should be ashamed of their politicians. Let's hear it for the Kennedy legacy!

    September 24, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Chipster

    I'm not sure a vote was needed at all. The Governor should be able to appoint a temporary Senator until the election anyhow. If it were a permanent appointment, it would be different but for temporary representation, the governor should be able to act. The vote is a formality to avoid challenges and more bickering.

    September 24, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Obama fan...not!

    Another unelected Senator....

    September 24, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. scott in atlanta

    All of the political manuevering that the Republicans did in the past eight years was just fine for conservatives. Not a word for them. Now that Republicans have made such manuevering acceptable, the Democratics have chosen to play by the same rules. Now, all of the sudden it's a travesty of justice, or low down politics.

    If Satan should raise his ugly head again in the next election to allow Republicans to gain control again, you'll see that such political manuevering will, all of the sudden, become acceptable again.

    Tom Delay changing voting district maps in texas to ensure Republican victories come to mind...

    September 24, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. muffy7

    Paul Kirk is the best choice. He is a classy, intelligent man. He would be a wonderful Senator, I wish he would run.

    September 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. Debra R

    Wow Ted rules MA even from the grave...what was it someone said that the Kennedy clan doesn't ask for preferential treatment?

    September 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. phoenix86

    Massachusetts continues down the road away from democracy. Following nicely the path set by former Senator Kennedy.

    September 24, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. Jack

    Hypocrites. Never use the word ethics around this group.

    September 24, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. LacrosseMom

    Before the GOPers begin to complain, or ask "don't we get to vote?" I want to remind them, that this appointment is TEMPORARY. Kirk will finish Sen. Kennedy's term, which ends with the elections in 2010.

    Peace everybody!

    September 24, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Puerto Ricans forgotten in health care

    I hope Mr. Patrick remembers that before he rushes to vote on the health care debate, the Kennedy wanted to make sure all Americans were covered. Especially the Americans in the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

    September 24, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Bluebonnet

    Well, no surprise here! Another Kennedy "purchase". All you dems that constantly bash the GOP – put this in your criminal pipes and smoke it!

    September 24, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. Ren from Baltimore

    After visiting the Kennedy Library, and especially after watching the Senator Ted Kennedy Memorial services there, it is clear that Paul Kirk was a close friend, confidant, and ally of Ted's. His proven organizational, humane, and community attributes speak volumes about the Senator's beliefs and principles, and the Senator's family choice of Mr. Kirk puts the final point to this wise selection.

    Mr. Kirk, in addition to many civic and business successes, was also co-founder and current co-chairman of the bi-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which has hosted presidential and vice-presidential candidates' debates since 1988. This is one fine American, and we are so fortunate to have this type of role model today.

    September 24, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Tom in Delaware

    A complete failure of ethics….only a Liberal or a Criminal could be proud…but I repeat myself.

    September 24, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Keeth in California

    Weak. Dukakis would have been so much better. The last bit of respect I had for the Kennedy clan is gone.

    September 24, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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