Multiple press reports suggest that Ted Kennedy, Jr. is considering a run to replace Massachusetts Senator John Kerry in the special election that will be held if, as expected, Kerry is confirmed by the Senate as the new Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton. On Friday, AFP reported that an unnamed Obama Administration official said that President Obama will soon nominate Kerry for the position.
There’s only one problem. Kennedy is a legal resident of the state of Connecticut. Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution, however, requires only that a Senator must be an “inhabitant” of the state he or she represents. Kennedy may have time to address the problem of “inhabitance” if he acts quickly. Under Massachussets law, the governor must call a special election within 145 to 160 days of the vacancy of a Senate seat. This gives Kennedy six months to establish that he is an “inhabitant” of Massachusetts, not Connecticut.
Kennedy, age 51, has a significant political advantage since his father, Ted Kennedy, represented Massachusetts in the Senate for forty-seven years, from 1962 until his death in 2009. A graduate of Wesleyan and the University of Connecticut Law School, Kennedy lost a leg to cancer when he was 12 years old, and has spent much of his career advocating on behalf of the disabled.
A recent poll conducted by WBUR gives current Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), defeated for re-election to the seat he presently holds by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in November, the edge in a special election. That poll, however, did not include Ted Kennedy, Jr. as a potential opponent. In Massachusetts, the Kennedy name has been magic for more than six decades. This November, Joseph P. Kennedy III, grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy, easily won the Congressional seat in Massachusetts that opened up with the retirement of Barney Frank.