Rep. Joe Kennedy to challenge Ed Markey for Massachusetts Senate seat

Rep. Joe Kennedy to challenge Ed Markey for Massachusetts Senate seat

Savannah Behrmann


Published 8:41 PM EDT Sep 18, 2019

WASHINGTON– Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III is reportedly set to announce he will be mounting a primary challenge to incumbent Sen. Edward Markey in 2020.

“Joe plans to make a campaign announcement this Saturday in East Boston. He looks forward to speaking with folks then,” spokeswoman Emily Kaufman said, according to the Boston Globe.

Kennedy, 38, had been floating the idea of a potential Senate bid in recent weeks and filed a statement of candidacy in August.

Because of the speculation about Kennedy, Markey who has been in Congress since 1976, has received endorsements from many progressives, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. who worked closely with Markey on the Green New Deal. Ocasio-Cortez has called Markey one of the Senate’s “strongest progressives.” Elizabeth Warren, the other Massachusetts senator and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has endorsed Markey as well.

Markey had previously announced endorsements from 116 Democratic state lawmakers in Massachusetts, and has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Kennedy has been considered a rising star within the party, delivering the Democratic response to President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address. 

He is also a member of a Democratic dynasty as the grandson of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York. Kennedy is also the grand-nephew of President John F. Kennedy and Sen.Ted Kennedy, who represented Massachusetts in Congress for decades.

The congressman informed Markey of his decision on Wednesday in person, the Globe reported.

After Markey and Kennedy spoke Wednesday, Markey senior campaign adviser John Walsh said in a statement, “Elections are about choices, and Ed looks forward to spending the next 14 months campaigning hard every day to show the people of the Commonwealth why he’s the right choice.”

The matchup has reportedly had party members and donors worried about fundraising and resources both in the state and nationally as both men are powerhouses in Massachusetts politics.

Last week, Kennedy said he “respectfully” disagrees with the notion that a primary challenge by him would hurt the Democratic Party in 2020.

“I don’t see how an active, engaged race that enables an electorate across the state to make an informed decision about who’s going to represent them in the United States Senate for the next six years is a bad thing,” Kennedy said, according to CBS News. “That’s exactly what the process was designed to do.”

A recent survey by Suffolk University and The Boston Globe found Kennedy leading Markey by 14 percentage points in a theoretical head-to-head matchup.

Kennedy’s decision to challenge Markey was also reported by the Washington Post. 

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