One day after U.S. Rep. Edward Markey announced he would run in the special election to fill the Senate seat being vacated by secretary of state nominee John Kerry, he earned the endorsement of Kerry, the Democratic Party and Vicki Kennedy — the wife of former Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Markey has served in the House since 1976. He became the first big-name Democrat to announce he would run for the seat on Thursday, and support quickly coalesced around him, in what appears to be an attempt to clear the field and prevent a competitive primary.
“While I began last week to formally step out of politics and it’s very important that I respect the apolitical nature of the post I hope to soon occupy, as Massachusetts’ senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey’s for 28 years, I’m excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate,” Kerry said in a statement on Friday.
“Ed’s one of the most experienced and capable legislators in the entire Congress and it would be an almost unprecedented occasion for such an accomplished legislator to join the Senate able to hit the ground running on every issue of importance to Massachusetts,” Kerry said. “Ed’s someone who authored and passed a visionary energy bill to deal with climate change; he’s one of Congress’ foremost experts on the Internet, telecommunications and new energy economies; he was a leader on nuclear weapons issues; and he’s the House’s leading, ardent, and thoughtful protector of the environment. Ed’s upbringing in Malden and his service as the dean of our delegation means he knows in his heart and in his head just what is important to every corner of our state. He’s passionate about the issues that Ted Kennedy and I worked on as a team for decades, whether it’s health care or the environment and energy or education. He’s gutsy and tough, smart and sharp, a workhorse in Congress who has never forgotten where he came from or who sent him to Washington.”
Shortly thereafter, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) issued their own statement of support for the congressman.
“Ed Markey has spent his career fighting for the people of Massachusetts. He has been a leader on some of the most important issues of our time and has repeatedly taken on the special interests in Washington,” said Sen. Michael Bennett, DSCC chairman. “At a time when the country needs real leadership that looks out for the middle class, Ed Markey always remembers where he came from and will continue the hard work needed to turn our economy around. He is exactly the kind of leader Massachusetts needs in the U.S. Senate.”
Markey also received the endorsement of Vicki Kennedy, the wife of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who passed away in 2009. Her son, Edward M. Kennedy Jr., announced earlier in the week that he would not run for the seat.
In a statement of thanks for the outpouring of support, Markey touted his work with Kerry during his time in Congress and pledged to work to further Democratic ideals.
“Together, Senator Kerry and I have fought hard for the families in our state and country, standing up against a Republican agenda that benefits billionaires and big oil companies that don’t pay their fair share,” Markey said. “This is the kind of leadership we will continue to need in Massachusetts in the face of tea party obstructionism.”
“The events of the last several weeks, from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have made it clear Massachusetts needs a senator who will fight the battles Senator Kerry and I have fought – for energy independence and environmental protection policies, as well as for an immediate ban on assault weapons. We need a senator who will protect Massachusetts from the Republican assault on the R&D investments that are vital to our innovation economy,” he went on.
“Massachusetts voters are facing a critical decision about whether we continue John Kerry’s tireless fight for the middle class or if we abdicate more power to the special interests. We must not turn back now. That’s why I want to continue this fight for the values and priorities that will move our state and nation forward and carry on John Kerry’s legacy of leadership in the Senate.”
Two other Democrats have said they are contemplating runs — state Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch — but neither has formally announced any decision. It is “unclear” whether they will back out after this obvious attempt to clear the field for Markey, said John Della Volpe, Director of Polling for the Harvard Institute of Politics and a former Democratic pollster.
“Capuano would love to run a grassroots anti-establishment campaign and is likely not to be deterred,” Della Volpe said. “Lynch is also actively courting local elected officials as well and could tap another element of the grassroots base in Massachusetts.”
A big factor, he said, would be “how much money the DSCC can dry up” for any challengers to Markey.
On the Republican side, Massachusetts’ current junior senator, Scott Brown, who will leave office in January after losing his seat to Elizabeth Warren, is expected to run for the seat.