Mass. House Approves Senate Appointment Bill

Per the Associated Press:

Mass. House approves bill letting governor name interim successor to late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Perhaps Mike Dukakis will go to Washington 20 years after his 8-point presidential election loss. More as we hear it...

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MA-Sen: Will the NRSC Pony Up for Scott Brown?

If the NRSC had its druthers, the establishment candidate for the Republicans in the upcoming special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts would be a former statewide elected official (former Gov. Mitt Romney, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, former Gov. Paul Cellucci), someone with previous prominent governmental experience (former Presidential Chief of Staff Andrew Card, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan), a prominent businessperson who could self-fund (former Carruth Capital president Christopher Egan), or a politically conservative celebrity (retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling).  It looks like none of these will be represented in the Republican establishment candidate.

It appears that the GOP establishment is coalescing around Republican state sen. Scott Brown.  Andrew Card even endorsed Brown as he announced that he would not be a candidate.  The only other Republicans to have expressed interest are Bob Burr, a Selectman from the town of Canton, Massachusetts' 85th most populous municipality, and Jack E. Robinson, who almost finished third (barely a percentage point ahead of the Libertarian candidate) in the 2000 U.S. Senate race.  So, barring a surprise candidacy, Scott Brown will be the Republican nominee.

Brown is one of only five Republican state senators in the forty-person body (to go along with only 19 Republicans in the 160-person body).  One could look at that and say that a Republican has no shot in overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts.  Another could look at that and say that Brown wins where other Republicans might not.

Which is the correct way to look at it?  Let's ask the National Republican Senatorial Committee.  Should anybody in Massachusetts think that Brown has even an outside chance to win?  Well, if the NRSC - the Republican campaign committee whose sole focus is electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate (i.e. they who should be Brown's biggest cheerleader) - publicly commits to ponying up serious cash for the special election (serious being at least $1 million), then Republicans and right-leaning independents can at least take heart that Washington D.C. is taking this race seriously.  However, if the NRSC will not publicly commit to spending a cool million or more in Massachusetts in support of Brown's candidacy, that means that they're writing it off.  If the Republican campaign committee whose sole focus is electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate writes Brown off, why shouldn't Massachusetts voters write Brown off?

So, ladies and gents of the NRSC, which is it?  A public commitment to spending serious dough in Massachusetts, or writing off the race altogether?  (At the very least, maybe the NRSC can hook Brown up with a better graphic designer.)

For daily news and analysis on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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Markey Won't Run For Kennedy's Seat

From Roll Call:

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has opted not to run in the special election to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D), leaving the field wide open for several Democrats -- including at least two House Members -- to run in the Dec. 8 Democratic primary.

With Joe Kennedy, Meehan, and now Markey out, the betting money is probably on state Attorney General Martha Coakley, what with the state-wide name recognition and all.

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George W. Bush on the Ballot in 2010

Because having the 2006 and the 2008 elections be about George W. Bush really worked out well for the GOP...

Republican Andrew Card, former President George W. Bush's chief of staff for more than five years, said Wednesday he would likely run for the seat left vacant by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, prompting another prospective candidate, state Sen. Scott Brown, to rule out a bid if Card entered.

It's hard to imagine how Republicans could think it would be a blessing for their party to have as one of their top candidates in the 2010 cycle -- indeed the center of the political world's attention leading up to this winter's special Senate election in Massachusetts -- the man who made the administration of George W. Bush run on time (to the extent it did), but apparently this is exactly what they're thinking. Don't get me wrong, considering the GOP's remarkably bad performance in the last federal special election in Massachusetts, with a highly touted candidate under-performing not only Mitt Romney but even George H.W. Bush's 1992 performance(!), their chances aren't great no matter who runs. Still, to give the Democrats the opportunity to run yet again against George W. Bush doesn't seem like the brightest idea I have ever heard.

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Joe Kennedy Says No To MA-Senate Run

With Vicki Kennedy having already made it clear to Governor Patrick that she has no interest in her late husband's Senate seat, we can now say that the Kennedy dynasty really is coming to an end. From the Associated Press:

Former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, the eldest son of Robert F. Kennedy, announced Monday he would not run for the U.S. Senate seat held for nearly 50 years by his late uncle, Edward M. Kennedy. The decision was certain to widen the race for the Democratic nomination.

In a statement, the former six-term congressman said he cares about those seeking decent housing, fair wages and health care. But he added, "The best way for me to contribute to those causes is by continuing my work at Citizens Energy Corp."...

The decision surrenders a seat the Kennedy family has held for all but two years since 1953, when John F. Kennedy moved from the U.S. House to the Senate, before being elected president in 1960. It became vacant Aug. 25, when Edward Kennedy died of brain cancer at age 77. He was first elected to the Senate in 1962.

It also removes an excuse for three veteran Massachusetts congressmen -- Reps. Michael Capuano, Edward J. Markey and John Tierney -- who have said they are considering campaigns but would not run against a member of the Kennedy family. The senator's widow, Vicki, had previously ruled out a campaign.

My quasi-uneducated guess as to what happens next: the state legislature allows Patrick to appoint an interim Senator; Patrick picks Senator Michael Dukakis; Dukakis is replaced in February by either Senator Martha Coakley or Senator Martin Meehan. But I've been wrong before.

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