BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Governor Deval Patrick says heâ€™d sign legislation that eliminates the need for a special election if U.S. Senator John Kerry resigns. Before 2004, state law allowed governors to fill a vacant Senate seat until the next biennial election.
â€śIâ€™d rather that a governor have the authority to appoint until the end of the term the way it was maybe two steps ago, but I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any appetite to go back to that,â€ť said Patrick.
Senator Kerry is being considered by President Barack Obama to fill a cabinet-level position. If Kerry resigns, Governor Patrick could appoint an interim Senator until a special election is called. But thereâ€™s no interest in the Legislature to get rid of the special election and give Patrick stronger appointment power.
â€śNo,â€ť said Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth). â€śItâ€™s not going to happen.â€ť
â€śThereâ€™s not much appetite for a bill like that, people care very much about who represents us in the U.S. Senate and I think we feel that we would want a choice,â€ť said Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst).
If Kerry leaves, some names have been floating around to replace him, including former Governor Michael Dukakis and Vicki Kennedy, late-Senator Ted Kennedyâ€™s wife. Patrick says thereâ€™ll be a long list of likely candidates, but he wonâ€™t speculate on who theyâ€™ll be until the decision is before him.
According to Senator Kerryâ€™s office, he plans to seek re-election when his term ends in 2014.
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