Thursday, August 27, 2009
Under Massachusetts law, Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) must call a special election 145 to 160 days after a U.S. Senate seat is officially declared vacant.
The question is whether legislators will act upon one of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's last public wishes: that they change state law to allow the governor to appoint a temporary successor for that five-month period.
Patrick voiced support Wednesday for such a change, telling the radio station WBUR that the idea is "entirely reasonable" and that he would urge the legislature to pass such a bill, which he would sign.
Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, both Democrats, have not said whether they back the change.
Until 2004, such a vacancy would have been filled by gubernatorial appointment. But Democratic legislators changed the rules that year, fearful that a victory by Sen. John F. Kerry (D) in the presidential race would give then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) the ability to appoint a GOP successor.
-- From Staff Reports and News Services