Aug 28, 2009

Massachusetts has first open Senate seat in decades

The Herald News reports:

For the first time in nearly half a century, Massachusetts voters will be handed ballots for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Edward Kennedy without his name on them.

The long list of potential candidates to replace him in the seat once held by President John F. Kennedy includes congressmen, former prosecutors and, perhaps, one of Edward Kennedy’s nephews.

The scramble is about to begin leaving no time for the long list of potential candidates to mourn Kennedy’s death.

Before his death, Senator Kennedy wanted to amend the state laws to appoint his replacement.

Since that didn’t work out, his replacement may not be available to take his seat in the Senate for several months.

State law requires a special election no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after a vacancy occurs. The law bans an interim appointee. In this case, the election must be held either the last two weeks of January or the first week of February.

Possible replacements are a few members of the Kennedy family including of Kennedy’s nephews, former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (pictured). Joe Jr. heads Citizens Energy, a nonprofit that distributes discounted heating oil to the poor. He has been criticized in recent years for accepting oil from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The report here lists several other potential candidates.