Pressure Builds for Fast Kennedy Succession

Kennedy had asked for governor to choose his replacement

Thursday, Aug 27, 2009  |  Updated 6:15 AM PDT
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A Nation Mourns Ted Kennedy

AP

Ted Kennedy's wife, Victoria, is said to be a strong contender for his Senate seat if she wants the job.

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Massachusetts lawmakers are reportedly warming up to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s plea that Gov. Deval Patrick appoint a quick successor to finish out Kennedy's term.

Gov. Patrick and other statehouse leaders said Wednesday that it would be a shame to have to wait up to five months for voters to choose a replacement -- which would leave the state with only one vote in the Senate as the country debates critical health care reform.

Kennedy had written a letter to the governor and lawmakers before his death requesting that they overturn a 2004 law that requires a special election in the event of a Senate seat vacancy. The idea is controversial because state Democrats were the ones who changed the law in the first place – they had hoped to thwart Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in the event that then-presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry had won his race and been forced to give up his seat.

But Kennedy's death may be a game changer, The New York Times reported. Representative Michael Moran, the co-chair of the legislature’s elections rules committee told the Times: “Ted Kennedy was one of the most impressive senators we’ve ever had, and to have him write a letter just prior to his death saying this is something Massachusetts needs — how do you not take that seriously and give your position another look?” 

Ted Kennedy’s wife, Victoria Reggie has been cited as a possible successor to the Camelot throne, though friends have said she is not interested in the job, according to the Times. Former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, Kennedy’s nephew, could be another strong choice, sources said.

Read More: New York Times

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