U. S. Representative Joe Kennedy III officially launched his campaign for U.S. Senate on Saturday. The Newton Democrat will be challenging incumbent Senator Ed Markey, BC ’68 and BC Law ’72, in the 2020 Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary.
“Donald Trump has forced a reckoning in America, but meeting this moment requires more than just confronting him,” Kennedy said in an announcement video. “We deserve leaders who will show up where we are, who aren’t afraid to break down an old system and build something better.”
The primary race also features Steve Pemberton, BC ’89, a member of BC’s Board of Trustees and recipient of a 2015 honorary doctorate from the University, who announced his candidacy in July. Workers’ rights lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan is also in the race, having announced her candidacy in May.
Kennedy, the son of former Representative Joe Kennedy II and grandson of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, has served as the representative for Massachusetts’ 4th congressional district since 2013.
In the past year, Kennedy has supported a “Medicare for All” bill in the House of Representatives and called for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump in the wake of the Mueller Report. He also supports the Green New Deal, co-authored by Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
While some of Kennedy’s stances do overlap with Markey’s, the representative cites his support for removing political action committee money from politics, ending the filibuster, and implementing term limits for Supreme Court justices as areas in which he and Markey differ, he told WCVB.
“When it comes to economic justice, I’ve put forward an entire platform of ideas that need to, I think, take place to make sure we restore economic justice in this country,” he said.
No incumbent U.S. senator from Massachusetts has ever lost a primary election, according to FiveThirtyEight. Kennedy, however, led Markey—35 percent to 26 percent—in a poll conducted by The Boston Globe and Suffolk University earlier this month. Pemberton and Liss-Riordan were tied at 1 percent, while 36 percent of voters polled were undecided.
An hour after Kennedy formally announced his run, Markey released a video message challenging Kennedy, Pemberton, and Liss-Riordan to a climate change debate, which he suggested take place in November.
“I’m asking environmental groups in Massachusetts who have shown the greatest commitment to fighting climate change to sponsor this debate and to establish a format that will provide the best opportunity for voters to hear from all of the candidates,” Markey said in the video. “For the next generation, we can’t wait.”
Featured Image By Isabel Litterst / For The Heights