Tags: patrick | democrat | kennedy

Mass. Gov. Moves to Pick Replacement for Kennedy

Thursday, 27 Aug 2009 02:18 PM

By Dan Weil

Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., says a bill allowing him to appoint an interim successor for the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy will probably pass the legislature quickly.

The idea for that process was floated by Kennedy himself shortly before his death, and Patrick has voiced his support for it.

"I'm talking regularly with legislative leaders, and they're not, my sense is, in principle opposed to the idea," Patrick said in an interview with MSNBC, as cited by The Hill newspaper.

"There's a bill actually pending already. The thinking in the legislature is that they might take up the bill sooner" than expected.

The bill would allow Patrick to choose a Senator who would serve until a special election could be held in four to five months. Kennedy’s term was set to end in 2012.

“I think it's a very reasonable request, and it was so like Sen. Kennedy to look ahead and around the corner," Patrick said. "Given the significance of the proposals before the Congress right now, I think it's important to have two senators."

Ironically enough, the idea would reverse a law created by Democratic legislators during the 2004 presidential campaign.

The Democrats were worried that then Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, would appoint someone from his own party to succeed Democratic Sen. John Kerry if he won the presidency.

As for the special election, Republican insiders tell ABC news reports that Kerry Healey, Romney’s lieutenant governor may represent the GOP’s best hope to capture Kennedy’s seat.

Other potential Republican candidates include former Gov. Paul Cellucci and former White House chief of staff Andy Card.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is one of the state’s most popular politicians, may win the Democratic nomination.

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