It was not expected that the Massachusetts senate seat would be filled until a special election could be held in early 2010, and that would be too late to help with health care reform. But it looks like the Massachusetts legislature has fixed that problem. They have just amended the law to allow the governor to appoint a replacement senator until the special election can be held.
Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, is expected to approve the legislation and appoint someone to fill the seat temporarily next week. Some expect him to appoint ex-governor Michael Dukakis (pictured) to the senate seat. The Massachusetts Senate is also expected to pass a resolution asking the appointee not to run in the special election.
Whether the appointee does or doesn't run in the special election, this will give Democrats one more vote (hopefully progressive) in the upcoming health care reform egislation, and that's a good thing.
The odds are still not great that real health care reform will be approved, but they are better now than they were last week.