Sen. Kirk: New Mass. senator will be sworn in 'as quickly as possible'

A new Massachusetts senator will be sworn in as quickly as possible, Sen. Paul Kirk (D-Mass.) pledged Sunday.

Kirk, the senator in the interregnum until Tuesday's special election to permanently fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D), said that while he believed the Democratic would win the race, the victor would be sworn in as quickly as possible regardless of who wins.

"Certification will take no longer than what the law requires, and certainly before that if it looks like it makes sense," Kirk said Sunday morning during an appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal."

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Kirk said the process of certifying the election should be conducted "as quickly as possible," and echoed the 10-day timeline for certification that usually takes place in Massachusetts.

The race pits upstart Republican Scott Brown against state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), where a Brown victory would mean Republicans would have the votes to sustain a filibuster against a number of bills, including Democrats' healthcare reform legislation.

Some observers had expressed concern that a swearing-in could be delayed to preserve a 60-vote majority to pass healthcare, if Brown were to win in the usually-Democratic Massachusetts.

Kirk rejected the idea that the race had become about that health bill, and predicted a win for Coakley on Tuesday.

"I don't think necessarily that the citizens of Massachusetts see this election as just a referendum on national health reform," he said.

"Ultimately the reason it elevated was a recognition that the Republican candidate was doing better than expected. And once he was doing better than expected, there was an understanding from the national media that this could be -- assuming again this is hypothetical -- a vote that might interfere with or stop national health insurance," added Kirk. "That's why you have all the attention that's focused on it. But I do think it's hypothetical, and Martha Coakley will be the victor."