The Washington Post makes note of a letter from ailing Sen. Ted Kennedy asking Massachusetts lawmakers to more rapidly fill his Senate seat should a vacancy occur. “I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator,” Kennedy wrote in the letter. “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.”
Rather unaccountably, the Post doesn’t mention why the state law was changed in 2004 to get rid of interim gubernatorial appointments: Democrats were afraid that if John Kerry won that year’s presidential election, Mitt Romney would name a Republican to succeed him in the Senate. Republicans who have been appointed to countywide elected offices by GOP governors have a decent track record at the ballot box in the next election, unlike the sacrificial lambs the Bay State GOP recruits to take on Democratic incumbents.
Massachusetts has a Democratic governor now, however, so state Democrats have nothing to fear from an interim senator. And all the better for Kennedy to influence the selection of his replacement.