More “special” legislators on the way?

As noted in a previous post, Massachusetts state Rep. James Marzilli seems poised to move up to the state Senate seat vacated by Robert Havern earlier this year, which means Marzilli’s House seat will also be filled via a special election. Also this week, state Rep. Douglas Petersen accepted Gov. Deval Patrick’s offer to become the state’s new agricultural commissioner, which means his seat will be taken over through a special election. That would make a new total of nine special elections in the 200-member Legislature since the last statewide election, and we’re not even halfway through the two-year session.

I’m working on getting a tally of all state legislators who captured their seats through special elections (generally characterized by low turnout and a lack of time for first-time political candidates to make their names known), but it may be a long process. The General Court’s official roster of legislators does not indicate exactly when or how they took office, and the Secretary of State’s Web page on the results of special elections covers only the current year.

Admittedly, I’ve checked the legislative Web sites in about a dozen other states, and none of them indicate exactly when members were elected. It’s almost as if special election victories weren’t something to brag about.