If history and emotion are any indication, Democrats seem certain to retain Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat, which the Massachusetts liberal held for nearly a half century before succumbing last week to brain cancer.
Political analysts note that Massachusetts has traditionally voted Democratic, including in last year’s U.S. presidential election. The last time Massachusetts elected a Republican to the Senate was 1972 when it gave Edward Brooke a second six-year term.
Analysts also point out that Kennedy’s death created a tidal wave of emotion, one that his party will likely ride to victory in a special election to replace him.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced on Monday that the special election would be held on Jan. 19 and he also made a plug for one of Kennedy’s final pleas — that state law be changed to allow for the governor to appoint an interim senator until a special election is held.
If the governor is permitted to name a temporary successor to Kennedy, the new senator would become the sixth appointed rather than elected lawmaker in the 100-member Senate.