Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Electing Kennedy's Successor

Massachusetts is putting the wheels in motion for a quick special election to choose a successor to the late Senator Ted Kennedy, even though they have not resolved the question of giving Democratic Governor Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim senator. The primary will be December 8, and the special election January 19.

Apparently, the Democrats' preferred game plan is to have the legislature authorize the interim appointment ASAP, and then go ahead with the special election according to that schedule. Most states that allow for gubernatorial appointment wait until the next regular election day for the special election, but it looks as though Massachusetts won't do that.

A party often looks to a late senator's widow (I don't think they've ever turned to a widower of a female senator but, as the number of women in the Senate continues to rise, that might happen at some point) to serve, at least on an interim basis. But Vicki Kennedy seems firm in her opposition to that notion.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, is reportedly the first candidate to start the process of filing for the election. Coakley, 56, was a district attorney, before being elected to her current office in 2006.

With Kennedy's widow staying out of contention, speculation regarding the Kennedy family centers on former Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, nephew of Ted Kennedy, and the eldest son of Ted's brother Robert.

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