Senator Ed Markey made history on September 1, 2020 when he defeated U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III in the Massachusetts Democratic primary and marking the first time that a member of the Kennedy family has lost a run for federal office in the state. First elected to Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1973, Sen. Markey became the Democratic Representative for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District from 1976 to 2013. In 2013, Sen. Markey was elected to serve the remainder of John Kerry’s Senate term after Kerry was appointed by then President Barrack Obama as United States Secretary of State. In 2014, Sen. Markey won a full term in the Senate and has now given more than four decades of his life to serving Congress as a member of both the House and Senate.
In a tightly contested race, Joe Kennedy III sought to position himself as the new voice of the Democratic party in Massachusetts and attempted to depict Sen. Markey as out of touch with the younger population. In the end, Sen. Markey’s victory was surprising with Kennedy having an early lead in the polls from the beginning based off his platform of economic and social justice while offering a voice that he wagered was more in touch with reality than Sen. Markey who has served more than 40 years in Congress.
While both men largely agreed in their political views, Sen. Markey was able to capitalize on the Democratic party’s younger stars such as New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who he partnered with in support of policy initiatives like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Despite Kennedy’s early lead, later polls indicate that Sen. Markey was pulling closely and that some Massachusetts’ residents felt that Kennedy was running off the pedigree of his family’s name.
Political figures throughout Massachusetts and the United States, heaped praise on Sen. Markey after his victory Monday night with many commenting that his years of leadership and stewardship of the Democratic party are needed in the years to come. During his victory speech, Sen. Markey wore his signature Nike Air Revolutions that helped him win over the younger generation of Massachusetts voters while also embracing his role as a late in life hipster. With Democrats hoping to unseat both Donald Trump as President and Republicans as the majority in the Senate, Sen. Markey’s win offers a glimpse at their platform for victory in November.