Kennedy successor to be chosen by special election

UNDATED (AP) - The now-empty Senate seat left by the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy won't be filled right away, since Massachusetts law does not allow a gubernatorial appointee.

Instead, a special election will be held in about 5 months. The law says no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after a vacancy occurs.

The law was changed in 2004, when Sen. John Kerry became his party's presidential nominee and Republican Mitt Romney was the governor.

Democrats who control the state legislature sought to prevent Romney from appointing a fellow Republican.

Last week, Kennedy, suffering from brain cancer, asked state lawmakers to change the law to give the current governor, Democrat Deval Patrick, the ability to appoint an interim replacement.

But there's no indication the governor or legislative leaders support the change. State lawmakers are off until after Labor Day.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)