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Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is First Candidate for Ted Kennedy’s Senate Seat

MA Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley

MA Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley

The Boston Globe reports that currrent Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has begun her campaign to fill recently deceased Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat in the Senate. Although she hasn’t officially announced her candidacy, Coakley stopped by the Secretary of State’s office this morning to get the required nomination papers.

Coakley’s nascent campaign picked up the documents from the secretary of state’s elections division. She now needs to gather 10,000 certified voter signatures to qualify for the Dec. 8 Democratic primary. Those signatures must be submitted to city and town election officials for certification by Oct. 20.

Coakley has been quietly been putting together her Senate campaign over the past year….She has told associates she will run for the seat even if a Kennedy family member enters the race. Joseph P. Kennedy II is said to be eyeing the race; people close to the family have said the late senator’s wife, Vicki, is not interested in the seat. Three members of Congress — Edward J. Markey, Stephen F. Lynch, and Michael Capuano — are also considering running.

Ed O’Reilly, who ran against Senator John Kerry in the 2008 primary, may also run. It sounds like a crowded field. It should be exciting. Personally, I’d like to see a woman represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, and I’m convinced Coakley would do an excellent job.

The New York Times’ The Caucus blog says that the Massachusetts state legislature will consider whether Governor Deval Patrick should be permitted to appoint someone to fill the seat until the special election on Jan. 19.

I really don’t see why that is necessary. Patrick may just want to give his own pick a leg up–although with Patrick’s approval rating at only 19% in the most recent poll, his imprimatur may spell the kiss of death for the candidate of his choice.

On Martha Coakley, The Caucus reports that

Ms. Coakley, who was overwhelmingly elected attorney general in 2006, has long been considered a possible contender for an open Senate seat.

The Associated Press reported earlier this year that in both 2004 and 2008, Ms. Coakley opened a bank account that financed polling to explore her chances for a Senate seat. She told the Boston Globe in April that the account is inactive but open….

Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University, said the ambitions of Ms. Coakley, who has risen rapidly from prosecutor to county district attorney to attorney general, are well-known.

“She’s moved up the ladder quite quickly,” Professor Berry said. “She’s had her eye on a Senate seat and has been waiting for the call, and it finally came.”

So far no one has called Martha Coakley the “B” word, but I suppose that will inevitably happen, as it does to most powerful women. She also supported Hillary Clinton in the primary, and that may be held against her by Obama fans.

65 Responses

  1. Might be a bad sign to Obots, but being a Hillary supporter makes you electable to alot of folks.

  2. Those of us in MA who overwhelmingly supported Hillary in the primary (by 15%) actually were happy that SOME of our elected officials cared what their constituents thought. I have admired Martha Coakley since she was an assistant DA, and hope she is successful.

    And I see no purpose in filling the seat temporarily. It’s been pretty much empty during Sen. Kennedy’s illness for the last 18 months anyway, so what’s another 5 months?

    • I agree, Anne. What’s the rush? They aren’t anywhere near passing a decent health care bill anyway.

    • MN had half a representation in the Senate for some time and I don’t want it to happen to us.

      Kennedy still made it to crucial votes to DC.

      I recognize that we are being vixctims of our own political game. Even if Kerry had won and Mitt Romney had appointed a Rep. temporarily, the guy would have STILL lost in the general.

      We don’t send Republicans to DC.

    • it depends who he picks. If it is someone who is clearly a place-holder, and won’t run for the election (like say, dukakis) than I am all for it. Unfortunately there is really no way to control that, and it requires trusting the gov (which is a bit of a stretch).

      I don’t see her support of Hillary hurting her at all in MA. Hillary won here by a big margin. Also, even for Obama supporters, he made her secretary of state and frankly there would be no reason to hold a grudge as an Obama supporter since he is the president and she isn’t.

      FWIW I voted for Obama in the primary (in MA) and I like Martha Coakley a lot.

      • There has been talk about a place holder who WILL NOT run in January. I even think that’s a fait accompli

        People who supported HRC have nothing to fear in MA. Many popular MA politicians did (Barney Frank among them) and the Clintons are STILL very popular in MA.

      • Admitting you voted for Obama in the primaries is not a big plus around here 🙂

    • They want to fill the seat for the health care debate. The thing is, just like the New Dem party personifies, it’s complete hypocrisy. They are the ones who changed the law in 2004 to prevent Romney from appointing a Republican. They argued it was “anti-democratic” to have an appointment instead of an election. Now, however, they need the appointment, so they are talking about “representation for the people of MA.” Exactly why I am disgusted with the party.

      • At least be honest about it–you want the extra vote–don’t wrap it in the flag like the GOP.

  3. How do I register to vote in MA? If Coakley supported HRC, that gets her more than a leg up to me. It will be an interesting primary because I’ll bet it will be a mini replay of the Dem primary with Clinton and Kennedy backers in a real scramble. If Kennedy II runs, it will also be a referendum on the Kennedy dynasty—do they go on or are they over?

    Mablue2: I guess that game is party before principle. It is a bit of irony.

  4. I don’t live in MA, but it would nice to have some new blood in the Senate; especially female.

  5. “And I see no purpose in filling the seat temporarily”
    It is my understanding that the legislature would have to pass a law to allow the gov. to fill the seat. Mass changed it’s law when Romney was gov in order to prevent him from replacing Kerry with a Republican. Kerry lost so it wasn’t an issue.

    • Yes, there would have to be a law. Ted Kennedy was asking for the change before he died, and Patrick has asked the legislature to consider it. Since Patrick is incredibly unpopular, I don’t know if he’ll get what he wants.

      If the person appointed were just a placeholder who would agree not to run for the seat, I’d be for that. I just don’t want some Obama supporter getting a leg up.

  6. Sadly, I can’t vote in Mass either, but I’d send her a small check.

  7. Is the special election a free-for-all with the top vote-getter the winner or is there a run-off if no one gets over 50%?

    Will the winner have to run again next year or do they finish out TK’s original term?

    • Special election would have a primary first then general. The good thing about that is it will prevent a Republican from consolidating the conservative vote against a crowded Dem field. The bad thing is it will take longer for the election to happen. Which is why an interum appointment might be a good thing if done correctly.

      I think they finish out the term.

      • So MA gets four elections next year?

        • Ted Kennedy was re-elected in 2006, so his term wouldn’t have been up until 2012. I assume the winner of the special election would hold the seat until then.

        • not sure I follow… his term would be up in 2012 so I think they don’t have to run again until 2012. Unless you are talking about another election (non senate).

      • No Republican has a chance in hell of winning that seat. Forget about it. This is Massachusetts.

        • I agree.

          The only way it would happen is if it was a free for all with 5 Dems against 1 Republican. Since there is a primary first, there is no way in hell a Republican will win.

    • I think the winner would have to run again. There is a primary before the special election, so I think there would just be two candidates in the general election.

    • There will be 2 primaries in December: one for Reps and one for Dems. Whoever wins the seat will have to run again in 2012 to win a full term.

      Vicky Kennedy said she’s not iterested in the seat and I don’t think Joe Jr wants to run. I think those 2 could easily win, it’s still MA.

      • Is there a lot of popular love for Vicki Kennedy? If so, I haven’t heard about it.

        • She gained lots of it during the memorials. However, I don’t think she wants to become a full-fledged politician.

          • I’d like to see Vicki get the temporary seat – but of course I don’t live in MA and know little about their politics.

  8. Matt Taibbi’s take on the bailout propaganda.

    It’s a shorter version of dakinikat’s take on the financial games.

  9. Here in the Burning State the governator fills Senate vacancies by appointment but then the next regular election there is a primary and a general election for the remainder of the unexpired term.

    If a Senator dies/retires with less than 2 years left the appointee would finish the term.

    DiFi beat an incumbent appointee the same year (1992) that Boxer ran for an open seat. Because DiFi finished the last 2 years of Pete Wilson’s term she is considered senior to Boxer. (Wilson was elected Gov. in 1990 and appointed John Seymour as his replacement)

    DiFi had to run for reelection in 1994 and every six years since then.

    • That’s the MA system (before it was changed to deny the appointment to Mitt Romney and soon after it gets re-changed.)

    • Ditto here in the Funshine state. Charlie Crist is appointing George LeMieux, amongst cries of cronyism, for the seat vacated by Mel Martinez. Duh- Charlie’s running for the Senate seat. He’s not going to appoint anyone that might stay.

      • so much for the 17th amendment

        • Actually the election is next year. Charlie Crist, out governor, has national ambitions, so he plans to run for the Senate. I’m certain that he will make a run for President eventually. He is probably too moderate to clear the national primaries. I didn’t vote for him, but he has not been a bad governor. He got a grip on the insurance companies and reversed some of Jeb’s more asinine policies. Even though he was Jeb’s attorney general, he is not being endorsed by the Bushies.

          • They usually don’t endorse those they see as their servants to any thing higher than congress .

          • It’s so wierd how Republican voters hate gay people, but seem to have no problem voting them into high office–as long as they stay in the closet.

        • Silly you!

    • Yeah…and? You mean we’re not supposed to do this? Are they making fun of parents like me? What? 😯

      • my children call me their stalker mom (20 and 26) but they both befriend me, they’re still happy that their dad is not on facebook, however … the little one conspires to keep him off it

    • I saw this earlier it’s F-ing hilarious and has come out at a good time for me . I’m tired of telling folks why I don’t have a facebook wall whatever….A : I’m on the freaking web too much already and B: I don’t want everyone knowing everything about what I’m doing …..because frankly it’s not that interesting.

  10. Great news about Martha- I hope she decides to run. I’m more than willing to gather signatures- if anyone sees a link to her campaign in the future, please post it.

    I believe she, and some other MA delegates at last year’s convention, did cast their votes for Hillary- as they were supposed to do and against the strong arming of the BO people. (If I’m remembering right). She seems to have strength and integrity, and it’s about time MA had a female Senator.

    • Yes, a group of women politicians did hold out and vote for Hillary! I was proud of them for holding their ground against all the bullying.

  11. Love Martha!!! I was hearing these ridiculous rumors today that Kennedy’s son was going to be drafter or some such??? WTH? They don’t own the seat! Go Martha!!!

  12. Coakley has been an extremely progressive AG and I think she has a good shot at winning even if Joe Kennedy enters the race. She has far more progressive politics than any of the sitting congressmen who are considering running, especially the loathsome Steven Lynch.

    Contrary to the standard belief here that Obama supporters won’t vote for her, I know plenty of people who supported Obama who are hoping Coakley wins.

    • Markey is pretty liberal. He’d be OK, but I want another woman in the Senate.

    • Well, don’t fret. I’m sure within a week they’ll “discover” she’s the archconservative Medea/Lady MacBeth from the pit of hell and we all need to unite behind the far more liberal Errr sorry meant “progressive,” representative of hopenchange, Steve Lynch.

      Massachusetts, we’ve burned more women as witches than elected them to statewide or federal office.

    • I agree that her biggest obstacle to overcome is not Joe Kennedy, but Steven Lynch. I think even people who consistently voted for Ted Kennedy time after time are ready for somebody who is NOT a Kennedy, My hope is that Lynch won’t get into the race at all, if so I think Martha will have smooth sailing! ; )

  13. This site is touting the possibility of a Dukakis seating.

    • I have no doubt that the Prez or his thugs (Emanuel and Axelrod) are putting pressure on Patrick. Don’t forget, Axelrod created Deval before he created Barack in the same mold.

  14. How can we send Martha some money?

  15. Martha Coakley is amazing- I just found her contribution website:
    https://services.myngp.com/NGPOnlineServices/contribution.aspx?X=Dh25Soq905hREn4ZCgLmDVSWq8EinU%2fuRcZOuDzqde8%3d >

    She needs all the money she can get now so that national women’s group understand that she’s a viable candidate- Do whatever you can- Those of us in MA who are still upset that the candidate with the most votes in the state by far didn’t get the support of our two male Senators- Time for change- that’s for sure!

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