Kennedy Worried About Senate Vacancy

Posted August 26, 2009 at 4:17am

In his final days, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) expressed deep concerns about a Massachusetts law that would leave his seat vacant until a special election could be held within 160 days of his death. Kennedy, 77, died late Tuesday after a long fight with brain cancer.In a letter delivered recently to Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and state legislative leaders, Kennedy urged that they pass a bill allowing for the appointment of a temporary successor who would hold the Senate seat until the special election.Kennedy wrote that he supports the law requiring an election, but added, “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.—Kennedy continued, “To ensure a fair election process, I also urge that the Governor obtain, as a condition of appointment to the interim Senator, an explicit personal commitment not to become a candidate in the special election.But the state legislature is in recess until after Labor Day, and it appears the seat will remain vacant until after a special election in late January.The state law was enacted in 2004 to prevent then-Republican Gov. Mitt Romney from appointing a GOP successor for Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who was running for president.