DemDaily: Markey Ends Era of Camelot
September 2, 2020
In the country's most high-profile Democratic Senate primary, incumbent Massachusetts US Senator Edward Markey fended off a formidable primary challenge by four-term Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, 55.4% to 44.6%.
Ironically, in a race where the candidates were distinguished by little other than their 35-year age difference, young progressives are being credited with securing reelection for the 74-year old Markey.
Markey, who previously served in the US House for 37 years, was first elected to the US Senate in a 2013 special election to fill John Kerry's seat after Barack Obama tapped Kerry for US Secretary of State. In 2014, Markey was elected to a full term in the senate with 61.9% of the vote.
Kennedy, 39, was elected to his House seat in 2012 after serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Barnstable and Middlesex Counties. He is the grandson of former Senator and US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and the great nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the late US Senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy.Both Kennedy and Markey are well-respected in Congress, with solid progressive credentials rooted in the deeply blue Bay State, leaving Kennedy little justification for challenging the popular incumbent other than apparent ambition.
His motivation may have come down to choices. Had Massachusetts' other US Senator, Elizabeth Warren, been successful in her bid for president, there would have been a special election for her seat with a host of potential contenders among Massachusetts' Democratic Congressional delegation and statewide office holders.
Challenging Markey ensured Kennedy an advantage he might otherwise not have in a larger, much younger and potentially competitive field for Warren's seat.
Unless Warren, who was reelected in 2018 with 60% of the vote, takes a cabinet position in the new Biden administration, there will not be an open Senate seat until, and if, Markey retires in 2026.In the end, Markey, whose voting record is more liberal than Kennedy's, won on his years of progressive leadership on issues key to the left, including the Green New Deal, which he co-authored with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY).
Markey also had an effective and innovative ad campaign that highlighted his Congressional record, and capitalized on the support of "AOC" and other climate change leaders to rally younger voters and national support.
Markey is expected to sail to victory against Republican Kevin O'Connor in the general election.
Eighth Congressional District Congressman Stephen Lynch, 65, also dispensed with a challenge from the left, defeating Robbie Goldstein, 36, an infectious disease specialist, 66.7% to 33.3%.In the open Fourth Congressional District vacated by Kennedy for the Senate race, Newton City Councilor and US Marine veteran Jake Auchincloss appears to be the winner of the crowded Democratic primary contest.
With 95% reporting, Auchincloss secured 22.4% of the vote, followed by Brookline Select Board Member and Democratic communications professional Jesse Mermell with 21.4% and Newton City Councilor and former prosecutor Becky Grossman with 18%.
Social epidemiologist Natalia Linos secured 11.7%, followed by former financial regulator and progressive activist Isshane Leckey with 11.1%, and four other candidates.
Auchincloss, who will face Republican Julie Hall, an Air Force colonel and former Attleboro City Councilor, is expected to easily win the general election in the heavily Democratic southern Massachusetts seat.
State Primaries & Runoffs
September 8: New Hampshire and Rhode Island State Primaries
September 15: Delaware State Primary
November 3: Lousiana State Primary
December 4: Lousiana State Runoff
October 7: Vice Presidential Debate (Salt Lake City, Utah)
October 15: Second Presidential Debate (Miami, Florida)
October 22: Third Presidential Debate (Nashville, Tennessee)
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Sources: New York Times, Politico, Boston Herald