Saturday, November 24, 2012

Will Deval Patrick appoint our next Massachusetts senator?

Prior to 2004, the Massachusetts governor had the power to appoint a U.S. Senator or Representative to serve the remaining term of a congressman who left the job early. With the certainty of John Kerry's election to the U.S. Presidency in 2004, the law was changed to strip the governor (Mitt Romney) of this power, replacing it with a special election to occur within 160 days of the vacancy.

That strategy turned out to be premature when Kerry didn't "report for duty" after all.

In 2009, the Democrats were faced with Ted Kennedy's death and wished they hadn't pulled the trigger so soon. As a compromise, the law was again changed to allow for an interim appointment by the governor, though Deval Patrick insisted that the appointee agree not to run for the seat in the special election. A rare, but appreciated, moment of rising above the political fray.

Everything changed, of course, when the Democrat's shoe-in, Martha Coakley, failed to win the special election and Scott Brown took a 5-point win straight to Washington, D.C.

The well-organized Democratic Party ousted Brown this month and normalcy is soon to return to Massachusetts; that is, all Democratic U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Not so fast.

Now we're contemplating Senator Kerry being appointed to President Obama's cabinet, possibly in the role of Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State. If that happens, Governor Patrick will be able to appoint an interim senator. Will he add the stipulation again of the appointee not running for the open seat? Don't count on it. As George Bush once famously said, "Fool me once... Shame on you. You can't be fooled again."

The state Democratic Party leaders would rather see the 2004 mistake reversed by the legislature, putting the appointment of the unexpired term back into the hands of the governor. In fact, if we passed the law with a toggle option, with Democratic governors getting the appointment power and Republican governors not, we'd be heroes.

Once again, not so fast.

Joining the conversation is Senate President Therese Murray, whose spokesman said: "We're not changing it [the current law]." When she conveys something that straight forwardly, count on it.

Governor Patrick will make the interim appointment and allow that person to run in the special election. By necessity, that person will be forced to campaign for the entire 160 days and will have zero time to be our interim senator, but that's an issue for another day.

18 comments:

  1. I see a couple of different scenarios. First, lets assume you are correct and Sen. Murray says the law can't be changed, something I doubt. Deval could cut a deal where he resigns, making Lt. Gov. Murray, Governor. He would then appoint Deval the "interim" Senator. I have not seen a definition of interim. Is it 6 weeks, or 2 years?
    The second and more probable scenario is that the heavily majority Democratic legislature does change the law, waiving the requirement for a special election. If so, again Deval resigns, LtGov. Murray becomes Governor and he appoints Deval to fill the remaining term of Sen. Kerry.
    This is all contingent on Ambassador Rice not being confirmed Scretary of State, which is unlikely to happen.

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  2. The definition of Interim is 160 days from the date of the vacancy in the office.

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  3. I am moving out of Cuba.

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  4. Of course, if the situation were reverse, we know the GOP would act with utter ethical behavior free of self-serving advantages for their party as well. Ahem.

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  5. Anonymous of 8:50 AM. What the Democrats in this state do is far beyond the pale. The last three Speakers have been in jail, they ran a guy who had a dubious reputation with gambling and his wife and her family, the Left Tenant Governor runs off the road at 5:00 AM, and its governor decides to institute major policy on his own. Ahem and Amen.

    This state is corrupt beyond corrupt. Wait until your taxes go up in 2013....from the FEDS, from the state, and from Sandwich. I hope you don't believe all the crap from the Democrats. Never met one I thought was bright.

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  6. What about the guy that molested women in public. He was a state representative and I believe a committee head or something.

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  7. How about a former Democrat speaker who somehow wrested control of probation officers, then is granted immunity for squealing on others. He used the probation department, which was the sole responsibility of the courts as his own little patronage department.

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  8. Carl Johansen would add that you would be amazed at how much corruption within the walls of the Senate and House of Represenatives has been since before the days of Mayor Curly. Many of the leaders were all in the hands of the corruptable politicians that were being influenced by the likes of the Winter Hill Gang. Fortunitly over the past few years, justice has finely prevaled. Two more to go before another asault gets started to inflict its criminal undertaking of our legal system here in the Commonwealth. That is why we need folks like Randy in office, to stem the flow of injustice to justice for all its people. Just my opinion

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  9. We lost our anti-corruption crusader who spent 8 years on Beacon Hill honing his "attack the hack" skills. We needed his voice.

    He became a hack.

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    1. Let's see. You have a skill or better yet skills. Not only do you know the law, but you know the job of the first responders and you know how to work the system. You become a hack? or do you become best qualified.

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    2. Better skills set only takes you so far. His appointment taints the position. Someone of that stature and that position should be above reproachment. He cheapens the position by the baggage he brought to it. Our side has to get over it and quit the spin.

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  10. I don't think her appointment was a bad one at all and you republicans should just give it up.

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  11. Now that Susan Rice has asked that her name to be withdrawn from consideration as Secretary of State, that opens the door for John Kerry. Then what?

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  12. I just think that in a dictatorship, the leadership does as it pleases. The question for me becomes; is Massachusetts a democratic form of government or a dictatorship.

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  13. Sorry I have been missing from the blog for awhile folks, work calls and ya just have to work these days, however, I digress...I HEREBY NOMINATE REP RANDY HUNT AS THE INTERIM U.S. SENATOR TO REPLACE SEN. JOHN KERRY. Do I have a second? What...do you say our voice does not matter? Has not Randy proved that the calculator is much more powerful than the partisan hogwash we listen to each day. Can you imagine? I wager that Randy can build a fence in one week that will prevent all the lemmings from walking off the Fiscal Cliff! I mean, hell, it took the lord a week to make the earth...Randy can, at the finger speed of calculating light...cut through the BS and just do it, and do it fairly. Lets get a petition started and send it to our governor. Oh, we should insist that the interim status WILL NOT preclude Randy from running for the seat in 6 months. I am done with Scott Brown's truck, time for Randy's real world financial qualifications and his ability to walk down the center of the aisle. What say you fellow bloggers? Randy Hunt, the number one candidate we should draft in the upcoming NHL,,,er...Massachusetts Senatorial vacancy appointment that has already started the pot to boil. I think, so far, the wrong names are in the pot.

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  14. Growing up in this state as well as working in the corrupt court system, this state is beyond corrupt. We gave up on politics because even some republicans take the pension gift when offered, why they need to support their families. Like the dem said above y not gonna change commie mass its too far gone, scott browns loss proves how stupid liberals and unenroll voters are. starting business registering in delaware and moving as soon as possible out of state.

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  15. Growing up and working in beyond corrupt court system for 20 plus years, seeing people who I thought were ethical on both sides throw those ethics out the window for the salary benefits and insane pensions, add to that the liberal and clueless mass. voters, Mass. is too far gone has been for years! so sad to say, but we gave up politics, hopefully new year will explode our business and we r will be moving south to saner accountable state. Thank god we do have some fighters left like Randy, but I see the generational entitlements everyday, too far gone already! and of course the dems. ignore the laws Murray will appoint Patrick

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