- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Special election to fill Kennedy’s seat
Unlike most states, a successor to fill Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat in the Senate will be chosen through a special election, not by the governor.
Massachusetts law requires a special election for the seat no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after a vacancy occurs. The law bans an interim appointee.
The law was changed in 2004, when Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., became his party’s presidential nominee and Republican Mitt Romney was the state’s governor. Before the change, the governor would have appointed a replacement to serve until the next general election.
• U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy dies at 77
• ‘Camelot’ fades with Kennedy passing
• Obama: Kennedy ‘Greatest senator of our time’
• U.S., world leaders mourn Kennedy
• Kennedy to be buried at Arlington
• Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies at 88
• Kennedy secretly crafts health care plan
• Obama’s oratory garners big-name backers
That would have created the opportunity for Romney to install a fellow Republican in office, a move that Democrats who control the state legislature sought to prevent.
Last week, Kennedy asked Massachusetts lawmakers to change state law to give Massachusetts’ current governor, Deval Patrick, a fellow supporter of President Barack Obama, the ability to appoint an interim replacement to Kennedy’s seat should Kennedy be unable to continue serving.
Click here to see a timeline of Mr. Kennedy’s life.
“It is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election,” Kennedy said in a letter to Patrick.
Though Massachusetts is dominated by Democrats, a change in the law isn’t a sure thing. Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo — all Democrats — gave no indication if they would support the change.
Patrick and Murray both issued statements of condolence early Wednesday; neither mentioned succession.
Any change could not happen immediately. Lawmakers are not expected to return to formal sessions until after Labor Day.
Despite speculation that Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, could assume his Senate seat, family aides have said she is not interested in replacing her husband either temporarily or permanently. One of Kennedy’s nephews, former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, has also been described as interested.
Any race to succeed Kennedy would be crowded and fiercely fought.
Other potential Democratic candidates include state Attorney General Martha Coakley, U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch, Michael Capuano, Edward Markey, James McGovern and William Delahunt, and former Rep. Martin Meehan, now chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
On the Republican side, potential candidates include Cape Cod businessman Jeff Beatty, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and Chris Egan, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Cooperation and Development.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.