Massachusetts is likely to hold a special election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Rep. Silvio Conte, the lone Republican in the state's congressional delegation, a lawmaker said Saturday.
Conte died of a cerebral hemorrhage Friday night after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 69.Rep. Joseph Moakley, D-Mass., chairman of the House Rules Committee, said Gov. William Weld would select a date for an election. Weld, a Republican, made no immediate comment on a special election.
Moakley and other Massachusetts lawmakers said it would take more than a special election to fill the power vacuum left by Conte, who served on Capitol Hill for 34 years.
"History will list Silvio Conte as one of the greatest Massachusetts members of Congress and one of the nation's greatest public servants," Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., said in a statement.
"There will be an enormous hole in the Massachusetts delegation," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
And Rep. Nicholas Mavroules, D-Mass., said Conte "was extremely powerful."
"He worked in a very quiet, effective way with a great deal of confidence," Mavroules said. "His word was like gold."
President Bush, in a statement released at Camp David, Md., said he and his wife Barbara were deeply saddened.