Rep. Joe Kennedy may challenge fellow Democrat Ed Markey for Senate seat: report

Kennedy said while he has not made a decision, he wanted supporters to hear from him directly

By Nicole Karlis

Published August 26, 2019 7:58PM (EDT)

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy (Getty/Stringer/Lukas Schulze/Scott Eisen)
Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy (Getty/Stringer/Lukas Schulze/Scott Eisen)

On Monday, Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy (D.) confirmed he is considering running for Senate next year. If he does, that would mean that he would run against fellow Democratic incumbent Sen. Ed Markey — setting the stage for a primary challenge that could further the legacy of a storied American political dynasty.

Kennedy made the announcement in a Facebook post. Markey has held his seat in the Senate since 2013. He won a special election and then won his first full-term a year later.

Kennedy is the grand-nephew of former American president John F. Kennedy. His grandfather was Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. Senator from New York who was assassinated in 1968 during a presidential primary run. Robert F. Kennedy was the brother of John F. Kennedy.

There has been growing speculation about Joe Kennedy's potential Senate bid in the last few weeks. Kennedy said while he has not made a decision, he wanted supporters to hear from him directly.

"Over the past few weeks I've begun to consider a run for the U.S. Senate," Kennedy wrote in a post on Facebook. "This isn't a decision I'm approaching lightly and — to be completely candid — I wasn't expecting to share my thoughts so soon."

He said he will make a decision in the next couple weeks, and that family is his first consideration to making it.

"But I'm happy to put this on the table for you now. I haven't reached a decision yet — that's the truth," he said in the Facebook post. "I'm thinking about what I have to offer Massachusetts voters, what is most important in this political moment, and what kind of party Democrats need to be building for the future."

In the Facebook post, he addressed critics telling him to "wait" his "turn."

"I hear the folks who say I should wait my turn, but with due respect — I'm not sure this is a moment for waiting," he said. "Our system has been letting down a lot of people for a long time, and we can't fix it if we don't challenge it. I've got some ideas on how to do that."

Shortly after releasing his statement, he filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and a statement of organization. 

"I don’t think our democratic process promises anyone a turn," Kennedy said. "What it does promise is the chance for anyone to earn it — if we think we have something to offer and are willing to put ourselves and our ideas out there."

Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a staff writer at Salon. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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