The push is on in Massachusetts to get another Kennedy into the U.S. Senate, even at the cost of Senator Edward Markey. Via POLITICO:
A mysterious July telephone poll that tested Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy III against Markey in a head-to-head contest first sparked speculation about the young congressman’s intentions. Then came the formation of a grass-roots group that aims to draft Kennedy into the race.
The “Jump in, Joe!” group — formed by members of Kennedy’s Boston Pride Parade Committee — launched a website, a Facebook group and a petition earlier this week.
In less than a week, the Facebook group to draft Kennedy swelled to nearly 600 members. The petition has 160 signatures.
“This is not about the incumbent. It’s not about Sen. Markey. We admire his public service over the past 43 years,” said Jamie Hoag, one of the people who launched the group. “This is about Joe Kennedy and why we think he would be the best fit for the U.S. Senate.”
There is still a certain popularity for the Kennedy name in Massachusetts probably due to the tragic assassinations of JFK and RFK. Nostalgia is always a flavor which doesn’t go away, especially for those who remember the previous Kennedys for their political success. Even Ted Kennedy enjoyed plenty of popularity in Massachusetts despite the entire Chappaquiddick thing.
The push appears to be working, if The New York Times is to be believed (emphasis mine).
[I]n a conversation this week with the Democratic official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations, Mr. Kennedy, 38, said that he was weighing a campaign against Mr. Markey, 73, and would decide in the coming weeks.
A contest between the two Massachusetts lawmakers could become the nation’s most high-profile primary race and would represent another test of the Democratic Party’s old guard. And while Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Markey are both committed progressives, the race would amount to a generational showdown between a scion of the state’s most famous family and a more than four-decade-long fixture of Massachusetts politics.
None of this is surprising and is the very nature of politics. Massachusetts politicos are probably hoping to be the man or woman who dumps their spouse for a younger, similar model – despite the familiarity.
Markey isn’t taking the notion Kennedy might want his job laying down, as is his wont. POLITICO reports he’s already started his reelection campaign and refuses to believe he’ll be pushed into retirement for some 38-year-old kid.
Markey has rolled out a series of early endorsements over the past several weeks, from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Coalition for Social Justice, the Blue Mass Group political blog, and former Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh. Markey is also backed by six of the 10 other members of the state’s congressional delegation, according to a Boston Globe survey. Kennedy did not say whether he’ll back Markey next fall.
Markey has also ramped up his digital spending. The senator has spent $111,000 on Facebook ads over the past year, and around $6,700 over just the past seven days, just a few weeks after the telephone poll.
He’s also got $4M in the bank just behind, of all people, Kennedy.
The guess is Kennedy backers are hoping he’ll (finally) become the second Kennedy to reside in the White House. It’s understandable, and the timing may work out given the fact the Kennedy family hasn’t mounted a presidential run since 1980. This seems more angling for 2024 or, most likely, 2028 – unless a Democrat decides to make him the vice presidential nominee next year.
The party is looking to raise his profile for sure, especially after he gave the response to the State of the Union in 2018. It might work but it really hinges on the current fight between the democratic socialists and current party leadership. Kennedy is considered ‘progressive’ but not in the vein of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren – he actually has a democratic socialist running against him in next year’s congressional primary.
Magic 8-Ball says, “Check again in a couple weeks.” Fun times are ahead for sure but enough with the political dynasties.