Massachusetts Rep. Kennedy declares Democratic main problem to Sen. Markey


Rep. Joe Kennedy, the newest technology of a well-known political household, introduced Saturday that he would problem Sen. Edward J. Markey in Massachusetts’s Democratic main, a bid sure to divide the get together within the state and in Washington.

Forward of a rally right here, Kennedy emailed supporters a video formally declaring his candidacy.

“Since Donald Trump’s election, I’ve had numerous conversations with my constituents. I’ve advised them not to surrender. I’ve implored them to do extra. I’ve begged them to achieve deeper, combat more durable, put extra on the road — as a result of all the pieces we imagine in is at stake,” Kennedy writes within the e-mail. “I’m operating for Senate to do the identical.”

Kennedy mentions the necessity for a brand new technology to tackle “outdated constructions and outdated guidelines,” an implicit nod to the many years that separate him and his opponent.

Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, who was lawyer common and New York senator when he was assassinated in 1968 throughout his bid for the presidency. He’s additionally the great-nephew of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Some in Massachusetts and the nationwide Democratic Celebration see the transfer as damaging: why problem a profitable Democrat with practically equivalent coverage positions at a time when the actual focus must be on defeating Republicans, they argue. Others say Kennedy, who turns 39 subsequent month, is the way forward for the get together, and {that a} main problem will strengthen, not weaken whoever goes ahead.

Markey, 73, has held the Senate seat since 2013, and served in Congress for 37 years earlier than that. He has the backing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who’s searching for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Simply forward of Kennedy’s occasion, Markey challenged him and different candidates within the race to a debate centered solely on local weather change, Markey’s marquee concern, the week of Nov. 11.

“I’m the writer of the Inexperienced New Deal, together with my good buddy Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” stated Markey, nodding to his work with the 29-year-old congresswoman and liberal favourite.

Environmental activists particularly appeared upset by Kennedy’s resolution, as a result of Markey has lengthy championed points they care about, and co-sponsored the Inexperienced New Deal, laws that will handle local weather change and financial inequality.

“That is the second for defeating a corrupt and planet-killing president — not for taking down a longtime environmental hero like Edward J. Markey simply since you suppose you may,” Lise Olney, a volunteer grass roots organizer and local weather activist from Wellesley, Mass., stated through e-mail. “Launching an internecine battle to defeat him is the very definition of hubris. And it’s onerous to see the way it can presumably be good for Massachusetts.”

Though it’s far too early to foretell an consequence, Peter Ubertaccio, a political scientist and dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Stonehill Faculty in Easton, Mass., stated Kennedy is a really critical competitor. “He brings title recognition, cash, expertise, group and at the least within the very early polls, an honest lead, so it’s going to be a very hard-fought race,” Ubertaccio stated.

Whereas others questioned why Kennedy would problem a popular incumbent, Ubertaccio stated it is smart that Kennedy would need to be within the Senate, at a time when there’s an opportunity each the presidency and the Senate will flip Democratic.

“If a Democrat wins in 2020, he’s going to need to be enjoying a number one position in passing Democratic laws,” Ubertaccio stated of Kennedy. “Many members of Congress would like to be within the Senate, significantly if their get together comes into energy.”

However Ubertaccio famous that Markey isn’t going to go quietly. As Kennedy has been making noises about difficult him, Markey has been staffing up his marketing campaign and happening the offensive — somewhat than rolling over and permitting Kennedy to win. “Massachusetts hasn’t had a main fairly like this because the early 1980s,” Ubertaccio stated, citing the 1978 and 1982 gubernatorial races between Michael Dukakis and Edward King, each of whom had served as governor.

In these competitions, there was a transparent distinction between the candidates’ insurance policies, Ubertaccio stated. However not now. “It actually isn’t about important coverage variations,” Ubertaccio stated of the Massachusetts Senate race.

As an alternative of distinguishing himself on coverage points, Ubertaccio stated Kennedy should persuade Democratic voters within the state that he hasn’t undermined the get together by going after an-already Democratic seat.

Scott Gilman, a volunteer with Dawn Boston, the native chapter of a nationwide environmental group made up of younger folks, stated he’s been very pleased with Markey’s management on local weather change. He stated he hasn’t adopted Kennedy’s local weather stance carefully, however assumes that his environmental insurance policies will even be liberal.

“I might see myself voting for him in one other race,” Gilman stated, “however for this race, I don’t see it making sense.”

Gilman stated he doesn’t perceive why Kennedy would problem such a robust advocate for the surroundings. Markey’s “been on this combat since earlier than it was cool. Earlier than GenZ and Millennials had been a voting block — since I used to be in center college and highschool,” Gilman stated. “I don’t perceive why you’ll need to problem that in case you’re someone who’s involved about local weather.”

Rebecca Pinn, president of Younger Democrats of Massachusetts, stated through e-mail that her group doesn’t endorse in contested primaries however does encourage its members to get entangled with candidates they help. Within the Senate race, Pinn stated she desires a progressive candidate who actively advocates for points that have an effect on younger folks. She praised Markey’s help for the surroundings and for web neutrality, the concept folks and corporations shouldn’t be capable to purchase their option to sooner Web service. She likes Kennedy for his help of a state poll initiative final 12 months that upheld transgender rights.

However Pinn stated she’s involved that the race will drain cash from different races. “There may be all the time the priority sources will probably be unfold too skinny in a presidential election 12 months the place getting rid of the present occupant of the White Home is the highest precedence,” she stated.

Mary Olberding, a resident of Belchertown, Mass., and the elected Hampshire County Register of Deeds, stated she’s thrilled that Kennedy is coming into the race. Trump’s 2016 win and the “blue wave” that adopted in 2018 confirmed that the nation is prepared for brand new management, she stated.

Olberding stated she’s additionally centered on the long-term. Markey would possibly do a fantastic job for the following six years, however by then, he’ll be in his 80s, and he could be unlikely to run once more, she stated. Kennedy, however, has many years of management forward of him — time he can spend throwing help to different Democratic candidates and serving to to construct the get together, Olberding stated.

Kennedy’s title recognition and energy throughout the nationwide get together, will win him some forgiveness amongst Democrats, and put him in a really robust place greater than 13 months earlier than the election, Ubertaccio stated. “The truth that Markey has responded with a level of power signifies that he understands that he’s in all probability not going to be driving this race,” Ubertaccio stated. “Kennedy’s in all probability within the driver’s seat.”

Two different candidates are additionally within the main race, labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan, a proponent for ladies’s rights and employee’s points, and businessman Steve Pemberton, who grew up in foster care.

Liss-Riordan, who describes the present legislators as “Washington insiders,” stated she thinks having Kennedy within the race will assist her, as a result of his insurance policies are so just like Markey’s.

Ubertaccio stated she’s theoretically proper that Markey and Kennedy will break up the vote, however profitable will even require a robust group, funding base and voter consciousness. “You’re speaking about two powerhouses — except you’ve obtained a third or 4th powerhouse, I believe it might be very onerous [to win],” he stated.

Colby Itkowitz reported from Washington.



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