According to the Daily News, Ted Kennedy has a plan for his succession:

Ted Kennedy has made clear to confidants that when his time is up, he wants his Senate seat to stay in the family - with his wife, Vicki.

Multiple sources in Massachusetts with close ties to the liberal lion say his wife of 16 years has long been his choice to continue carrying the family flame in the Senate. Kennedy won the seat in 1962; his brother John held it from 1953 to 1960.

Ted, who defiantly went sailing (!) yesterday, isn't giving up yet, so it may not even come to this. And Vicki isn't unqualified. And I know we've got a strong tradition of spouses taking over deceased legislators' seats. But doesn't 55+ years seem like a long time to keep one of our hundred Senate seats within a single nuclear family? It's not like Massachusetts has a shallow, or unprogressive, talent pool. Witness the Plank's festival of praise for Barney Frank just last week.