Massachusetts has two Senators who have been on the job for decades, and a newcomer Governor. It’s possible that all three won’t be on the job in 2010:

  • Governor Deval Patrick, former Assistant Attorney General under Bill Clinton, has said he won't accept any position in DC, but that hasn't kept his name from showing up on rumored short lists for AG or even a future spot on the Supreme Court
  • Junior Senator (and former Democratic Presidential candidate) John Kerry has been mentioned continuously as Secretary of State. He's been a lot more circumspect about whether or not he'd accept.
  • Senior Senator Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer in May, and although he is still working and appears strong, his prognosis is grim: median survival is about 15 months.

So what happens if Patrick and Kerry go to Washington, and Kennedy is forced to retire? Patrick has a Lieutenant Governor (Tim Murray) who becomes acting Governor in his place. Kerry and Kennedy don’t have that cushion, they must be replaced by special elections. Coincidentally, Massachusetts changed that law just in 2004. The rule before then was that Kerry would have been replaced Republican then-Governor Mitt Romney if he had won the Presidential election.

Whoever replaced Kerry or Kennedy would be the first new Senator from Massachusetts in more than 24 years.