That's what Peter Roff of U.S. News & World Report suggests. Unless the succession law is changed to allow Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to appoint a replacement, Sen. Edward Kennedy's successor will be chosen via special election by early March. As odd as it sounds to have a Republican replace Kennedy, the consummate Democrat, in Massachusetts--and as much as Democrats would rally against the possibility--Roff thinks Romney would fare well:

As a self-funding candidate who has already been elected once statewide, Romney has nearly 100 percent name ID. And, in an environment where President Obama seems to be dragging the Democrats down, he would be a serious threat to the Democratic hegemony in Massachusetts's congressional delegation. Meaning Romney likely would win.

Lots of personal money...good name ID...a faltering Obama providing an opportunity to crack Democratic hegemony...sounds like a breakdown of Romney's chances to take the White House in 2012.