Gov wants to eliminate special election

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Governor Deval Patrick says he’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. 

“I’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 don’t think there’s any appetite to go back to that,” 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 there’s no interest in the Legislature to get rid of the special election and give Patrick stronger appointment power.

“No,” said Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth).  “It’s not going to happen.”

“There’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,” 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 Kennedy’s wife.  Patrick says there’ll be a long list of likely candidates, but he won’t speculate on who they’ll be until the decision is before him.

According to Senator Kerry’s office, he plans to seek re-election when his term ends in 2014. 


Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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