Kennedy looks to ensure quick successor in Senate: Report

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) is pushing Massachusetts lawmakers to change state laws so that a vacancy in his Senate seat could be filled quickly.

According to a report in the Boston Globe on Thursday, Kennedy, who has been ailing from brain cancer from over a year, has written key Massachusetts officials to push for a change in state law to allow Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to quickly appoint an interim senator, instead of having to wait five months for a special election.

The letter is rife with implications as to both the state of Kennedy's health, but also the current state-of-play in debates over healthcare legislation in the Senate, where 60 votes are expected to be needed to pass the bill.

"I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator," Kennedy wrote in his letter, which was obtained by the Globe. "I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election."

Kennedy confidantes maintained in the story, however, that nothing should be read into the veteran senator's health status due to the letter. Massachusetts's junior senator, John Kerry (D), said that Kennedy would be available for a healthcare vote on a moment's notice.

"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.

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