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Liberal Groups Call for Appointee in Mass.

By Ben Pershing
A coalition of liberal groups is urging Massachusetts political leaders to honor one of the last wishes of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) by changing state law to allow for the appointment of a temporary successor.

Momentum has been building since Kennedy's death for a change in the law, which was written in 2004 to ban such appointments and would require the Senate seat to remain vacant until a special election is held in late January. Kennedy himself wrote to Gov. Deval Patrick (D) earlier this month requesting that the law be changed so his state would have full representation during the ongoing debate over health-care reform.

Now MassVOTE, which calls itself "a non-partisan voting rights organization," has launched a Web site,, asking readers to "[s]ign our petition to the Massachusetts Legislature to honor Ted Kennedy's legacy by taking steps to ensure an immediate, temporary appointment who won't run in the election to fill Massachusetts's second Senate seat. Massachusetts needs two voting members in the Senate, and our elected officials need to do what they can to keep our commonwealth represented."

Supporting the effort are several liberal-leaning groups, including the state branches of the Service Employees International Union and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Patrick has endorsed the idea of changing the law, and leaders in the state Legislature are reportedly warming to the idea as well. But a spokeswoman for the office of the state Senate president said there would be no movement or announcements on the issue today, out of deference to the Kennedy family.

Republicans have accused Democrats of hypocrisy for supporting a change in state law, given that the current restrictions were implemented when Mitt Romney (R) was governor and Democrats feared that he would be able to appoint a successor to Sen. John Kerry (D) if Kerry won the 2004 presidential contest.

Regardless of whether the law is changed, a special election will occur to fill Kennedy's seat. William Galvin, the Massachusetts secretary of state, has proposed that the election occur on Jan. 19 or 26, with the primary balloting on Dec. 8 or 15.

By Ben Pershing  |  August 28, 2009; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign  
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I am absolutely sure that MassVote is truly bipartisan. The two parts are liberal democrats and really really liberal democrats.

If this group and the secretive people behind it, were truly concerned about representation for Mass. in the Senate, they should have asked Kennedy to step down.

This is just overt, hypocritical, partisan hackery.

Posted by: bandmom22 | August 28, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Not a surprise. People should take this of an indication of how the Democrats view's their right and nobody elses. They change the rules to keep themselves in power. I think Americans should take a lesson from these "elites" who believe they should RULE the rest of the country...they are the chosen and Obama is their Messiah.They will be wanting to change the Constitution next so Obama can stay beyond two terms.

Posted by: staterighter | August 28, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

to 5:23PM
Well it wasn't hypocrisy that killed off the Whigs. At the request of Ted Kennedy, the state procedures for filling vacant house and senate positions was changed. The purpose: keep a republican governor from selecting a republican to fill a vacancy.
Now, the deceased Kennedy wanted the law he sponsored changed back so that a democrat governor could quickly appoint someone, presumably a democrat, to fill his impending vacancy. Not to speak ill of the dead but if Kennedy had been that concerned he could have retired six months ago and the state wouldn't be facing this "crisis'.
By the way, what odds will you give me on a Republican being appointed to the vacant senate seat?
This is nothing but pure power politics at its' best (if you are a democrat) or its' worst (if you are a republican).

Posted by: bobo49 | August 28, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The first commenter has it right! If a Republican tried this they would be "run out of town"! The Liberals think they are the only ones that can run anything the right way! Just look at how they spend OUR money! The Democrats are the ones that did this law in the first place, let them live with it!

Posted by: independent112 | August 28, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

pgormsen what exactly are you bringing into the conversation, besides criticism of another poster. You did not rebuke their argument in any way. Instead of attacking them personally, attack their argument. As to staterighter's post, I do agree that it is very hypocritical to create this law back in 2004, claiming it was something that would be good for both parties, only to do a 180 and now say it was a mistake? I am confused.

Posted by: korimus | August 28, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

If this were really about insuring two voices instead of promoting a particular party's political agenda why doesn't the Governor propose a moderate Republican like Peter Torkildsen for the seat? If he did that certainly no one could accuse him of playing partisan politics and if he doesn't perhaps they should.

Posted by: rcreech | August 28, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Was it not just as important a few short years ago that Massachusetts have two Senators, when Democrats changed the law to prevent then-Governor Mitt Romney from making an presumably Republican appointment if John Kerry won the presidential election, as it is today?

The Democrats in power have apparently had a change of heart now that they find themselves hoisted on their own petard. This chicanery does not even fool the people who favor it. Rules are either ignored (in New Jersey when The Torch dropped out) or are rewritten on the fly by a party that denigrates its own namesake by resort to such tactics.

By the way, the provision being touted that would prevent the appointee from running for his own term is unenforceable. The Supreme Court of the United States has already made it clear that states may NOT impose their own requirements on candidates for the U.S. House and Senate. Such modifications to qualifications for office can only be done by amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Massachusetts and New Jersey have not set the standard of legal rigor for the rest of the country. At least not yet.

Posted by: Novitas | August 28, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

it is really surprising to me how unpatriotic the people in massachtuusetts are as a whole.
giving the fact that this was one of the original of the first colonies,and the birthplace of so many of our founding fathers,and now,supporting antichrist.not only that,but supporting a man who has the blood of thousands of abortions on his hands,and never said he was sorry to mary jos family for her wrongfull death. a traitor to his God,and so called religeon. abortion is ok as long as it is a liberal doing it,and govt taking controll of our very souls,well thats ok too,the founding fathers,and God are old i guess.
i am no big fan of some of the republicans either,bush was a joke with his power grabbing crooked ways,and obama has put it on steroids,hyperspeed our country to socialism. supporters of this must hate their children,to want to leave this kind of future for them.

Posted by: silusdogood | August 29, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I have a suggestion. Should the law be amended to allow the Governor to appoint an interim representative for the vacant seat with someone of the same party.

Posted by: OneVoice6 | August 31, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

A will have to disagree with Sen. Kennedy. I do not believe that it would be fair to change the law once again just to keep the seats. I believe that just because Sen. Kennedy asked for the chnage do not believe it should be granted. Only because the law was altered before just to keep the Democrate in control.

Posted by: tristonbatts | August 31, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The really amazing thing is Ben Pershing's description of the SEIU and particularly ACORN, as "liberal leaning". Anyone vaguely familiar with the SEIU's and/or ACORN's political activities would AT LEAST have to describe them as "liberal" if not "left-wing". I think Ben must have written this before he had his morning coffee...

Posted by: Longboard | August 31, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Conservative republicans would be lost without something to dislike and rail against. Has it ever occurred to you that the Whigs are no longer in existence and they acted just as you are.

Posted by: manfred3 | August 31, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If Dems in Mass change law again it will be a terrific campaign issue nationally in 2010 and will swing a few Senate races. They made their 2004 law and should live with it. Mass is a very diverse collection of liberals who are very independent and who find it difficult to agree on many issues. If someone is appointed after a law change it may give one group an advantage for a seat all have been pining for since 1962. Hearing is Sept 9. Primary in Dec. Election 1/19/10. Not much room for an appointment.

Posted by: mascmen7 | September 1, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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