Kennedy Asks For Quick Succession

No plans to step down say colleagues

Thursday, Aug 20, 2009  |  Updated 7:00 AM CDT
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Eunice Kennedy Shriver Life in Photos

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Sen. Ted Kennedy wants his state not to lose a senator should he leave office.

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Liberal lion Ted Kennedy is asking top Massachusetts political leaders to change the state's succession law so his senate seat will fill quickly in the event of a vacancy -- especially should he leave office ahead of a critical health care vote.

Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, made the appeal in a secret letter delivered in June to the state's governor, senate president and house speaker, the Boston Globe reported

In the letter, Kennedy asks that Gov. Deval L. Patrick be allowed to appoint a temporary successor so the state maintains its two senators until voters choose a more lasting replacement. Under current law, voters hold a special election in the Senate within five months of a vacancy. Kennedy also wants the successor to pledge not run again once the term ends.

Speculation on the state of Kennedy's health and ability to remain office has intensified since he did not attend his sister Eunice's funeral last week. But colleague Sen. John Kerry told the Globe Kennedy's letter does not signify that he plans to leave the Senate anytime soon. "If [Senate majority leader] Harry Reid required 60 votes tomorrow, Ted Kennedy would be on a plane and be down in the Senate to vote," Kerry said.

Read More: Boston Globe

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