Patrick Kennedy Said to Back Kirk as Temporary Replacement for Father's Seat

The Associated Press reports that Patrick Kennedy and his brother Edward Kennedy Jr. have called Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and endorsed a close family friend, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul Kirk, Jr., as a temporary replacement for their father, the late Ted Kennedy, in the US Senate.

BOSTON — The sons of the late Edward M. Kennedy have urged the governor to pick Paul G. Kirk Jr., the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to temporarily replace their father in the U.S. Senate.

A family confidant said Wednesday both Edward Kennedy Jr. and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., had endorsed Kirk in separate phone calls.

A top aide to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick confirmed the contacts but added, "No decision has been made yet." A spokeswoman in Patrick Kennedy's congressional office declined to comment.

Massachusetts lawmakers are expected Wednesday to give final approval to a change in the Senate succession law so the governor can temporarily fill Senate vacancies. The interim senator would serve until the seat is filled permanently through a special election on Jan. 19.

Patrick could announce his pick as early as Thursday.

The 71-year-old Kirk is a Boston attorney and close friend of the senator's. He and his wife, Gail, live on Cape Cod, and he was among the few people allowed to regularly visit Kennedy at his Hyannis Port home before he died there of brain cancer on Aug. 25.

Kirk also knows the senator's staff intimately and would likely be assured of their loyalty given his relationship with Kennedy.

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