The Massachusetts state Senate has passed the bill
to provide for a temporary appointment to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, voting by a 24-16 margin. Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to name an appointee by the end of the week, putting Democrats back at 60 seats.
Until 2004, state law had provided for a gubernatorial appointee who would hold the office until the next regular Congressional election. State Democrats changed the process to a special election with no appointment in 2004, when John Kerry was running for president and Republican Mitt Romney was governor.
The new law, which was requested by Kennedy shortly before his death, will provide for an appointee of the same party as the departing Senator, who will be expected to not run in the expedited special election. Former Gov. Mike Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic nominee for president, is widely viewed as the favorite for the appointment.