Kennedy History Looms Large in Bitter Massachusetts Race

RFK grandson accuses incumbent of 'weaponizing' clan's past
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2020 2:30 PM CDT
RFK Grandson Could Be First Kennedy to Lose in Mass.
Sen. Edward Markey, left, and Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III take part in the final debate before the Democratic primary, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Needham, Mass.   (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

In the Democratic Senate primary in Massachusetts, a member of the Kennedy clan is facing stiff competition from a candidate with strong support among millennials, a popular TikTok account, and an endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He also happens to be the 74-year-old incumbent. Sen. Edward Markey, who has been in Congress since before 39-year-old rival Rep. Joe Kennedy III was born, is leading in every poll ahead of Tuesday's primary and could make RFK's grandson the first Kennedy to lose a race in Massachusetts, the New York Times reports. Markey tells the Times that AOC's endorsement "helped to make clear that in this race I am the youngest guy because it’s about ideas."

The race has become increasingly bad-tempered in recent weeks, with Kennedy attacking Markey's record on racial justice and accusing him of "weaponizing" the Kennedy family's history with an ad referencing JFK's 1961 inaugural address, the Hill reports. "We asked what we could do for our country. We went out, we did it," Markey says in the ad. "With all due respect, it's time to start asking what your country can do for you." Kennedy's campaign manager had accused Markey's online supporters of harassing the candidate with references to the assassinations of JFK and RFK. Kennedy's ads have featured footage of both men along with an endorsement from his grandmother, Ethel Skakel Kennedy, RFK's 92-year widow. (More Massachusetts stories.)

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