Democrats would like an interim senator to fill Ted Kennedy’s shoes until a January election provides a more permanent solution, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Thursday agreed to give Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint just such a person.

Before an appointment is made, Patrick’s choice for interim senator will have to promise the governor not to run in the special election.

The measure now moves to the state Senate, where it is expected to be bogged down by Republican delaying tactics.

The issue is highly political. Democrats want to regain their 60th seat in the U.S. Senate — a crucial number because of parliamentary reasons — in order to win health care reform. Kennedy himself suggested this solution shortly before he died. Massachusetts Democrats pushed through a rule change to prevent then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from naming the potential successor of 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry. The state’s current governor is not only a Democrat but a good friend of President Barack Obama.

Among the rumored replacement candidates is former Massachusetts governor and presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. — PS

AP via Yahoo:

Those said to be under consideration for an interim appointment include former Gov. Michael Dukakis, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul Kirk Jr.; former Massachusetts Senate President Robert Travaglini, former Kennedy staff chief Nick Littlefield, Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree and former state Treasurer Shannon O’Brien.

Candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the special election include Attorney General Martha Coakley, U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca. State Sen. Scott Brown and Canton Selectman Bob Burr are seeking the Republican nomination.

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