‘That kind of intraparty fighting is not good in the long term…’
(Dan E. Way, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., could be viewing a 2020 Senate seat as his birthright—not to mention a stepping stone to higher ambitions.
And as heir apparent in the family political dynasty, he might not let party unity or old-guard leadership stand in his way.
Politico reported that the 38-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy is weighing a challenge to incumbent Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, whose far-left ideology has endeared him to progressives increasingly populating the party.
“It’s ambition,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said of Kennedy’s youthful motivation.
Durbin said he would support Markey any way he can, an early indication that Kennedy could need more than the coattails of a famous family name and a craving for power to win an ugly intraparty brawl.
“I would tell Joe to wait,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the chamber’s most conservative Democrat, told Politico.
Markey’s seat is considered safe for Democrats in liberal Massachusetts.
However, the party hierarchy worries that an impatient Kennedy trying to seize Markey’s position could create a schism in party loyalties. It also could cause Democrats to unnecessarily spend campaign money while trying to reclaim the Senate majority and oust President Donald Trump.
“That kind of intraparty fighting is not good in the long term. And I don’t think it will be good for Joe Kennedy,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, told Politico.
“I’m a survivor of the [Ted] Kennedy–[Jimmy] Carter fight. I know how long those sentiments last,” Shaheen said, referencing the presidential primary challenge waged by Joe Kennedy’s great-uncle that paved the way for Ronald Reagan’s election.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said the party is “fully behind Sen. Ed Markey.”
But early polls show the brash Kennedy is leading Markey by double digits, and he hasn’t even formally announced if he will make a Senate run. He did file a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission last month.
Kennedy has since kept a low profile in Congress, working behind the scenes to help young House counterparts.
His biggest walk in the political sun came in the Democrats’ response to Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address—an honor typically delegated to the party’s rising stars. But what most people remember of that is he overzealously applied lip balm, making it comically appear on camera as though he was drooling.
Politico said “the contest is shaping up to be generational: The youthful Kennedy and his famous family brand against Markey’s 40-plus years of service” and liberal voting record.