yahoo link BOSTON - The Democrat-dominated Massachusetts House gave final approval Wednesday to a bill stripping Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of the power to appoint a successor to John Kerry's Senate seat if he is elected president. The bill would require a special election within 160 days after a vacancy is created, with the winner serving the remainder of Kerry's unexpired term, which ends in 2008. The issue has national implications in the narrowly divided U.S. Senate, with Republicans eager to pick up one of Massachusetts' two Senate seats and Democrats eager to hold on. The House version of the bill, approved Wednesday by voice vote, goes back to the Senate for a final vote and then to Romney, who is likely to either veto the measure or send it back with amendments. The bill previously cleared both houses by veto-proof majorities. Romney has said a "shotgun" election would favor candidates with political organizations and deep pockets. He says he's not opposed to a special election, but should be allowed to appoint a replacement during the interim to ensure the state has full representation in the Senate. A spokeswoman for the governor declined to comment Wednesday. "Why is this such a pressing issue? Ahh, because it's politics. It's all politics. Heaven forbid the governor gets to make an appointment," said Republican state Rep. George Peterson. Democrats said it was Republicans who were motivated more by politics than policy. "A governor is going to make some kind of calculus for political purposes. That is true of either party," said Democratic state Rep. William Straus. "We think the people can get it right."