Gov. Patrick Backs Kennedy Push to Fill Seat

Move to change Mass. election law gains momentum
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2009 10:03 AM CDT
Edward Kennedy chats with Deval Patrick in Boston, Nov. 5, 2007 during opening ceremonies for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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(Newser) – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick came out in support yesterday of Ted Kennedy’s request that he be given the power to appoint someone to fill Kennedy's Senate seat until a special election can be held, the Boston Globe reports. “I’d like the Legislature to take up the bill quickly and get it to my desk, and I will sign it,” he told the Globe. Under current law Kennedy would not be replaced until after a special election in January, at the earliest, and the governor can't name someone in the meantime.

But last week Kennedy sent a letter to Patrick and legislative leaders urging them to overturn the 2006 law, arguing that Massachusetts could not afford to be down a senator at such a critical time. Leaders of the state House and Senate are also said to be warming to the proposal, with the house speaker privately expressing support, and the senate president softening earlier resistance. The bill was passed to prevent Mitt Romney from appointing someone to fill John Kerry's seat in the event of a Kerry win in 2004.