Republican Scott Brown called on the governor of Massachusetts to certify the results of his upset Senate win by Thursday morning, allowing him to be sworn in earlier than his target date next week because there are votes he doesn't want to miss.
The demand reversed Brown's earlier declaration that he did not want to be sworn in until Feb. 11, a grace period he said he needed to hire a staff and prepare for his new responsibilities. It also followed criticism from conservative radio hosts and newspaper columnists about what one dubbed a "three-week victory lap."
The senator-elect now says there are Senate votes in which he may want to participate, but he didn't specify which ones. Once sworn in, Brown would give the GOP 41 votes in the Senate, one more than the party needs to sustain a filibuster of Democratic initiatives.
In a letter Wednesday to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, Brown counsel Daniel Winslow said he wanted the results of the Jan. 19 election certified by 11 a.m. Thursday so they could be forwarded to Senate officials for immediate action.
Hours earlier, Secretary of State William F. Galvin delivered official copies of the election results to the Governor's Council. And Patrick's staff announced the governor would sign Brown's election certificate in the council's presence — as is required by law — during a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Those actions would satisfy the timetable Winslow later outlined in his letter.
Brown upset Democrat Martha Coakley to win a Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for more than a half-century.
As pre-election polls showed him with a chance of winning, Brown complained when Galvin — a Democrat — said it would take him several weeks to certify the results because of a state law requiring a 10-day waiting period to receive absentee ballots. There also is an additional five-day waiting period for cities and towns to send him their official results.
On Jan. 20, Galvin sought to defuse the situation by sending the Senate clerk a letter saying it appeared Brown had won the election. Similar documents had previously allowed newly elected members of the House to be sworn in.
Yet officials in the Senate, similarly controlled by Democrats, said they needed an official certification from the governor before scheduling a ceremony with Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as president of the Senate.
President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lessened any need for an immediate ceremony when they pledged to withhold any votes on the president's proposed healthcare overhaul until Brown was seated.
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