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What's Going on at 538?

Breaking: Massachusetts Governor Names Kennedy Successor

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has named former DNC Chairman Paul Kirk to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy last month.  The move ensures the Democrats in the Senate will maintain a 60-vote Democrat block in the ongoing health care debate until a special election can be held. 

Kirk chaired the Democratic National Committee in the late 1980s and currently serves as chairman of the board for the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.  He is also a member of the board for the Senator Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. 

Prior to his service at the DNC, Kirk was a special assistant for the late Senator Kennedy from 1969-1977 and later became treasurer of the Democrat Party.
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CNN Reports:

Massachusetts lawmakers voted Wednesday to approve a measure giving Patrick the power to appoint an interim replacement for Kennedy until a new election can be held.

The measure would not go into effect for 90 days unless two-thirds of the state House voted to bypass the delay and enact the measure immediately. That 90-day period ends just a month before the scheduled special election for a permanent successor to complete the remainder of Kennedy's Senate term.

Democrats fell just short of the two-thirds mark in Wednesday's vote, with a final state House vote of 95-59. But Patrick also has the power to declare an emergency, which would allow the provision to go into effect right away.

Primaries to fill the seat for the remaining three years of Kennedy's six-year term are set for December 8, while the general election will take place on January 19.

Republican State Sen. Scott Brown has announced that he will run for the seat on the Republican side, while state attorney Gen. Martha Coakley, Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and Rep. Mike Capuano are battling for the Democratic nomination.

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