Ted Kennedy's Senate seat will likely remain vacant until early next year, reports CBS News. Massachusetts law specifies that a special election be scheduled between 145 and 160 days from now, and doesn't allow Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim successor. Kennedy himself urged Massachusetts legislators in a recent letter to overturn that provision, with an eye to the importance of every Democratic vote when a health care reform bill comes to the floor.
Patrick is expected to call a special election on Jan. 19 or Jan. 26, 2010. The state Senate president is reported to be seeking support for allowing an appointment, but the legislature is on recess until Labor Day. Kennedy suggested that the governor name someone willing to make an explicit commitment not to run for the seat.