Kennedy died Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass. The senior senator, who was suffering from terminal brain cancer, had sent a letter to Patrick and the state legislature last week, asking that he be swiftly replaced. Under current state law, Kennedy's successor would be chosen through a special election to take place in 145 to 160 days.
"I believe that the senator's request to permit the governor to appoint someone to serve for that five months until a special election was entirely reasonable," Patrick reportedly told radio station WBUR-FM. "I think particularly now when you think about the momentous change legislation that is pending in the Congress today, Massachusetts needs two voices."
The Globe reports that neither state House Speaker Robert DeLeo nor state Senate President Therese Murray has said whether they will craft a bill to allow for an interim replacement until the special election is held. Replacing Kennedy could play an important role in the success of health care legislation in Congress.
No one has publicly expressed interest in the seat, which is the first open Senate position available for the state of Massachusetts since 1984, though there are a number of potential candidates.
On the Democratic side, potential successor's to Kennedy's seat could include any current or former members of the House like Rep. Michael Capuano, Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Ed Markey, former Rep. Marty Meehan, or former Rep. Joe Kennedy (Ted Kennedy's nephew). It could also include state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Among Republicans, possibly interested parties could include businessman Chris Egan, businessman Jeff Beatty, State Sen. Scott Brown, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, or former Bush White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
Read more on the life and death of Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy:
Arrangements for Kennedy Funeral Announced
Kennedy Memoir Set for Release Next Month
Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Kennedy
"Liberal Lion" Remembered
No Immediate Action on Succession
In His Own Words
"The Last Brother"
Life in the Public's Glare
In Pictures: The Kennedys
Obits from U.S. Newspapers
Brothers "Would Have been Proud"