Edward M. Kennedy Jr. announced today he would not run for US Senate in Massachusetts, removing a potentially formidable contender from the race for the seat that will open up if US Senator John F. Kerry is confirmed as secretary of state.
“As a healthcare lawyer and disability rights activist who was raised to believe in public service, I have always had an interest in public policy development, advocacy and political action. Although I have a strong desire to serve in public office, I consider Connecticut to be my home, and I hope to have the honor to serve at another point in my future,” Kennedy said in a statement.
Kennedy lives in Connecticut but also owns a house at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport. He is the son of the late Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion who represented Massachusetts in the Senate for nearly five decades.
Edward M. Kennedy Jr. decided against a run for three reasons, a source familiar with his decision said. He did not want to uproot his family; he did not feel right about moving from Connecticut to Massachusetts to run; and officials in Connecticut had urged him to stay and run there eventually.
The source said the 51-year-old Kennedy was in no way ruling out a future run for public office. In fact, he hopes to run for office in Connecticut someday, the source said.
Kennedy had been approached by leading Democrats and was giving serious consideration to running in the Massachusetts special election, according to his brother, former US representative Patrick Kennedy, the Globe reported in Sunday’s editions.
Edward M. Kennedy Jr. in today’s statement congratulated Kerry for being nominated to be secretary of state. He also acknowledged that “many people” had asked him to consider running. “I am extremely grateful for all the offers of support that I have received,” he said.
Massachusetts Democrats are worried that Republican US Senator Scott Brown may have a good chance of winning the race.
A little-known state senator from Wrentham, Brown won a stunning special election victory in 2010 to fill the seat left vacant by the 2009 death of Edward M. Kennedy. He failed to win reelection this fall, losing to Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren. Now he may be looking to try to win the state's other Senate seat.
Edward M. Kennedy Jr. would have benefited, if he had run, from being part of the legendary Kennedy political family. His physical appearance and speech resemble his father’s, which might have awakened loyalties in Massachusetts voters, the Globe reported.
His decision not to pursue the office leaves the field open for other Democrats to toss their hats in the ring if Kerry is confirmed and leaves the Senate, as expected. US Representatives Edward Markey of Malden, Michael Capuano of Somerville, and Stephen Lynch of South Boston have already signaled they are thinking about running.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.