Paul Kirk to Fill Ted Kennedy’s Vacant Seat

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


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.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.