Obama Campaign Arm Urges Quick Fill to Kennedy Seat

By Gorman Gorman

Sep 10, 2009 3:19pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: President Obama's old campaign arm is pressing to change Massachusetts law to allow a temporary appointment to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.

In an e-mail to supporters today, John Spears, Massachusetts state director for Organizing for America, cites President Obama's speech last night to make the case that the state should have full Senate representation, with key votes looming on health care and other issues.

"Last night, President Obama strongly laid out the case for why we so urgently need health reform, and he mentioned a letter Sen. Kennedy wrote to him before his death," Spears writes.

"But right now, under current Massachusetts law, Sen. Kennedy's seat will remain vacant until January — depriving us of full representation in the Senate and depriving the country of a needed vote in favor of real health reform," he continues. "So we need to make sure that Gov. Patrick can appoint an interim senator until a special election can be held."

The e-mail urges recipients to contact their state senators and state representatives, and provides a link with contact information for those lawmakers.

The state legislature stripped the governor of the power to fill Senate vacancies in 2004, when Democrats feared that then-Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., would fill Sen. John Kerry's, D-Mass., seat with a Republican, if Kerry had been elected president.

Now, however, with the special election not scheduled until January, Democrats want to reclaim their 60th Senate seat as soon as possible. Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., is supporting a bill that would allow him to appoint an interim successor, and Kerry testified on behalf of the bill yesterday at the State House in Boston.

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