The Rush to Fill Kennedy’s Senate Seat
To help ensure that Democrats keep their critical 60th vote in the U.S. Senate, Massachusetts lawmakers are scrambling to change a state law which requires that a special election must be held to fill Senator Edward Kennedy’s vacated seat.
The priority is to find some way to allow Gov. Deval Patrick to name a temporary replacement in order to avoid both the delays and considerable expense associated with an immediate special election.
According to Reuters, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Election Laws said it will conduct the hearing on September 9 at 1 p.m. at the state house.
Reuters added that Gov. Patrick threw his support on Monday behind a proposal to appoint an interim successor to the late Senator Edward Kennedy and also set a date of January 19 for a special election to fill the term that ends in 2012.
“I will continue to work with the legislature on legislation authorizing an interim appointment to the U.S. Senate,” Patrick said at a news conference in Boston.
Reuters stated, “Kennedy’s death deprived Democrats of the 60th vote in the 100-seat Senate needed to overcome Republican procedural blocks to legislation such as the healthcare overhaul urged by President Barack Obama.”