U.S. Politics/Question from TNT Television show
Hello, Dr. Hauck. My name is Jon and I'm a researcher for the TNT television show Rizzoli & Isles. It's my job to make sure our show is as accurate as possible and to achieve this goal, I often rely on professionals such as yourself.
The reason I'm contacting you is in the hopes you can help us with a question for our next episode about Massachusetts politics.
We have an elected or appointed political officer in Massachusetts (not sure which yet...something that is a coveted jobs, i.e. put you on a trajectory for more political power). This official will be killed while riding in a car in the annual Irish Parade.
--Can you find out if a Congressman or Senator dies in office, are there any laws on the books in Mass. that allow a spouse to take dead elected official's place? Any other offices (appointed or elected) that allow this in Mass?
I know it's a longshot but I truly appreciate any help you can provide here.
My sincere thanks for your consideration.
Probably the most promising plot could center around the fact that if a U.S. Senator dies in office then according to the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it's the responsibility of the state's governor and legislature to fill the vacant seat. The second clause of the amendment deals with replacing a senator if she or he dies in office, resigns before the next election, or is expelled. The clause to the amendment reads as follows:
"When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of each State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct."
What that means is that the State Governor can appoint someone to fill the seat until a special election is convened which can take up to one year. The appointee can then run on the ballot as well.
For your purposes then, the spouse of the deceased Senator could be appointed by the Governor to fill his or her seat for a limited duration. S/he could run on the ballot for the special election and win. But if not, they would have received considerable notoriety to begin a new career. It is a pathway to power, however unconventional.
Jeffrey Hauck, JD, CPO, CII, LPD
Licensed Private Detective