You read it here first! A new coalition of nonprofits calling itself “We Need Two” is setting up an online petition to urge the legislature and the Gov (who needs no urging) to act on Senator Kennedy's desire to have an interim Senator appointed until the special election can be held. The coalition includes:
Chinese Progressive Association
Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance
Massachusetts Senior Action Council
UFCW Local 1445
Notably absent from the WeNeedTwo website, unfortunately, is an important part of Senator Kennedy's idea, namely, that the interim appointee should not participate in the special election. However, coalition spokesman Michael Whitney told us that
[I]f the legislature honors Senator Kennedy's request to change state law and allow[s] for a temporary appointment to fill his seat, the prospective candidates can be asked to pledge not to run for the seat after the appointed time. The [WeNeedTwo] site specifically emphasizes the “temporary” nature of the appointment, too.
… [T]his pledge would most likely be based on a promise by the appointee (and those who do not make that public promise could be dropped from consideration) but would be easily upheld by the voters. Any appointee who breaks their public promise not to run would have a hard time convincing voters they should be trusted and put back in office.
So they're at least not averse to it.
Here's my suggestion. If the legislature is going to do this, it should include a provision making the interim appointee ineligible to participate in the special election. Is that constitutional, you ask? Who knows? It's complicated, and there are decent arguments both ways. So pass the law that way because it's the right thing to do. If someone wants to challenge it, let the courts sort it out.