When Kerry ran for president, the Legislature changed the law to allow for a special election in order to prevent Gov. Mitt Romney from appointing a successor for the remainder of the six-year term. When Kerry lost, there was no need for a special election.
Lawmakers changed the law again in 2009, after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, to allow Patrick to make an interim appointment until a special election was held.
Materials from the Associated Press and Statehouse News Service was used in this report.