Yesterday, the word was that the naming of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis to temporarily fill the Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy was just a formality.
No longer. The big news today is that Paul Kirk, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a longtime Kennedy family friend, seems to be topping the list.
Both houses of the state legislature (the House last week, the Senate yesterday) have passed legislation that gives Gov. Deval Patrick (D) the power to fill a Senate vacancy by appointment; the law previously called for a special election. There still will be a special election — on Jan. 19 (primaries: Dec. 8) — but whoever Patrick appoints will serve until then.
Kennedy's two sons, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Edward Jr., are both reportedly lobbying Patrick to pick Kirk, who was on Kennedy's staff from 1969 to 1977; he currently heads up the JFK Library in Boston. Now, the Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot says that Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy, is also urging the governor to name Kirk.
And as for Patrick's timetable? More Chabot:
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray said today Patrick is looking at many candidates and is ready to make an appointment "fairly soon."
Put A Sock In It. Curt Schilling, the beloved former Boston Red Sox pitcher who is less beloved in Massachusetts for his campaigning on behalf of President Bush and John McCain, says he will not run for the Senate in the special election. He made the announcement on "Joe Buck Live" on HBO:
Regardless of the amount of support and outreach that's been given to me, it just did not make sense.