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Patrick Says Special Election for Kennedy’s Seat Will Be Jan. 19

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) on Monday set Jan. 19 as the date for the special election to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) term. The primary will be held Dec. 8.Patrick also reiterated his support for legislation that would allow him to appoint a placeholder for the Senate seat until the special election takes place.“Let me be clear: I wholly support the special election and the democratic process to fill the remaining two years of Sen. Kennedy’s terms,— Patrick said at a news conference, adding that he will work with the state Legislature to pass legislation on the temporary appointment.In the last days of his life, Kennedy appealed to state leaders to change the law so the governor could appoint a temporary replacement to his seat. Following Kennedy’s death last week, Senate Democrats are a single vote shy of the 60 needed to move legislation past a filibuster. Patrick said he has spoken with leaders in the state Senate and House who have given him their assurance that they are moving “as quickly as they can— on this legislation. Patrick also said in the news conference that Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Kennedy, told him that she is not interested in being appointed to the seat. When questioned about other candidates for the appointment such as former Gov. Michael Dukakis (D), Patrick said it was too soon to start throwing around names. “I’ve read that speculation,— Patrick said. “I really think it’s too soon to talk about any individual.—Several Democrats, including a few sitting House Members, are considering running in the special election. Because no officeholder would have to leave his or her job to run for the Senate seat, Bay State voters can expect a crowded Democratic primary in December. Reps. Mike Capuano (D) and Stephen Lynch (D) have indicated interest in running for the Senate seat, and some news organizations have reported that Rep. Ed Markey (D) is also mulling a bid. At least one statewide officeholder, Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), is also considering running for the Senate. Former Rep. Joe Kennedy (D) has yet to rule out a bid for his late uncle’s Senate seat. A Kennedy candidacy, boosted by the almost $1.8 million that Joe Kennedy has left over in his campaign fund from his tenure in the House, could clear the Democratic field. At least one Republican is poised to get into the race, although a Republican will fight an uphill battle in Massachusetts, which has not elected a GOP Member for 10 years. According to a source close to businessman David Sukoff, the Republican will likely announce a bid in the next week. Sukoff is in a position to put significant personal funds into his campaign and has already put the first parts of a campaign team in place. Additionally, state Sen. Scott Brown (R) is also seriously looking at a statewide bid.

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