Hoping to start work in Washington a week sooner than originally planned, US Senator-elect Scott Brown this afternoon asked Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of State William Galvin to "certify without delay" the results of the Jan. 19 special election.
In a letter written by his legal counsel, Daniel B. Winslow, Brown said he wanted the results certified no later than 11 a.m. Thursday so that he could deliver a copy to the secretary of the United States Senate in time to be administered the oath of office by Thursday afternoon.
The Republican Brown, who won a stunning upset in the Jan. 19 special election, had initially planned to be sworn into office Feb. 11. But Winslow wrote, “he has been advised that there are a number of votes scheduled prior to that date. For that reason, he wants certification to occur immediately.”
Galvin completed his certification of the official election results today. The results now must be approved by the Governor’s Council, and then signed by Galvin and Patrick. The governor has been away from the State House this afternoon, with several events in Taunton, so the certification did not occur this afternoon.
Patrick is planning to certify the results at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, said governor's spokesman Kyle Sullivan. "This will ensure that Senator-elect Brown’s request to receive the final paperwork by 11 a.m. tomorrow is fulfilled," Sullivan said in a statement.
Vice President Joe Biden would have to administer the oath of office, and top Senate Democrats appeared ready this afternoon to move on Brown's request.
“Once he gets the certificate in hand, he can be sworn in,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate majority leader Harry Reid. “We are working to swear him in as quickly as possible, which would be as early as tomorrow afternoon.”
There are several votes coming up within the next week that are expected to be controversial, including nominees for solicitor of labor and the US General Services Administration. A vote could come next week on whether to confirm Craig Becker, a Chicago-based union attorney who was nominated by President Obama to the National Labor Relations Board.
Votes on a major jobs bill could also come next week.
Still, it was Brown who had suggested being sworn in on Feb. 11, which was the date that officials in Massachusetts and Washington had been making plans around.
“Feb. 11 was a tentative date,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, one of Brown’s top advisers. “Since the election results are now complete, there’s no reason to wait. Senator-elect Brown wants to take his seat and participate in some important votes that are coming up.”
As recently as Tuesday afternoon, Brown’s spokesman, Felix Browne, said in an e-mail, “Feb. 11 still the date, yes,” when asked if anything had changed or if Brown would seek to be sworn in sooner. Tuesday morning at 8:50, Brown posted on his Facebook page “Scott Brown will be officially sworn in on February 11th at 12:45 p.m.”
On a WTKK-FM radio show this morning, Patrick said Brown was satisfied with the Feb. 11 swearing-in. "I think everybody feels like it's moving apace," he told hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.
Late this afternoon, the office of Senator Paul G. Kirk Jr., the interim senator who had been filling the seat held for 47 years by the late Edward M. Kennedy, announced that he would give his farewell speech at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.
"He will thank the people of Massachusetts for the honor of serving them, and discuss the urgent need to move beyond political polarization in the United States Senate," Kirk's office said in a statement.
Brown's victory over Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley reshaped the national political landscape and has stalled the Democrats' drive in Washington for a national health care overhaul.
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