Paul Kirk to Fill Ted Kennedy's Vacant Seat

| Wed Sep. 23, 2009 4:05 PM EDT

FOX News correspondent Major Garrett reported on Twitter today that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will appoint Paul Kirk as a temporary replacement for the late Edward Kennedy's vacant Senate seat. Kennedy's wife Vicky and two sons Patrick and Edward Jr. have endorsed Kirk for the position.

Kirk served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in the late 1980s and worked closely with Ted Kennedy as a special assistant from 1969-1977. Since, Kirk is best known for his role as the co-Chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the body that organizes debates for leading Presidential candidates. Under Kirk's leadership, critics have said that the CPD waters down policy discussion (or avoids it altogether), pretends to be non-partisan despite heavy party control, and is fueled by corporate lobbyists. In 1988, the League of Women Voters withdrew sponsorship of the CPD debates after George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis agreed to cut fringe candidates out of the debates, saying the pact "would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter."

Earlier this week, the Massachusetts State Legislature voted that Gov. Patrick could appoint Kennedy's replacement, despite voting in 2004 that former governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could not appoint Sen. John Kerry's replacement if he were elected President.

The announcement is expected tomorrow.

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