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Massachusetts Attorney General Announces Candidacy for Kennedy Seat

The attorney general of Massachusetts has officially announced she will run as a Democratic candidate in the special election to succeed the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

Attorney General Martha Coakley on Thursday became the first candidate to formally announce a bid for the vacant seat.

Other Democrats thought to be considering a run include Kennedy's nephew, former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently announced the special election to fill the senate position will be held January 19.

The governor is also pushing for legislation to allow him to appoint someone to the position until the election is held.

The vacancy comes at a critical time for Democrats in the 100-member Senate as they try to pass a health care reform bill. Democrats want to maintain the 60-seat majority they had, which allows them to prevent Republican delaying tactics.

Kennedy died last week of brain cancer. The liberal lawmaker served 47 years in the Senate.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.