It might not be the support he’s looking for, but Bill Weld, the former Republican Massachusetts governor, said Thursday he backs Rep. Joe Kennedy in his bid to oust Sen. Edward J. Markey in the Democratic primary.
The race between Kennedy and Markey is shaping up to be among the most watched intramural contests this election cycle, pitting the scion of one of the country’s more famous political families against Markey, a longtime member of Congress.
Kennedy is expected to formally launch his Senate bid on Saturday in Boston.
“I’m for Kennedy,” said Weld, who held a wide-ranging conversation with Washington Post reporters. “I’ve known him since the day he was born.”
“He doesn’t want my endorsement,” Weld added quickly.
He also praised Markey.
“I’ve known Ed for a long time and he’s a hero in a lot of areas,” Weld said, listing Telecom and the environment as two key issues where he said Markey has provided leadership.
Emily Kaufman, a spokeswoman for Kennedy, said, “Joe appreciates the kind words. He’ll be making a a campaign announcement this Saturday and looks forward to speaking with folks then.”
Weld, who served as governor from 1991 to 1997, waged an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 1996, trying to unseat then-Sen. John Kerry. Weld is currently seeking the Republican presidential nomination, taking on President Donald Trump. His strategy involves trying to win New Hampshire, where he’s been heavily campaigning. There have been few public polls of the Republican primary in New Hampshire, but an April survey showed Trump more than 60 percentage points ahead of Weld.
During his conversation with reporters, Weld ruled out running on the Libertarian ticket or as an independent if he fails to secure the GOP nomination. In 2016, Weld clinched the Libertarian Party’s nod for vice president and ran on a ticket with Gary Johnson.
Weld avoided offering any endorsements on the Democratic side, but shared some thoughts about the candidates.
About fellow Bay Stater Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Weld said: “She sure is smart and she sure is filled with energy.” But he added that her economic policies are too far left for the country and predicted she would lose in a general election.
Weld sounded more impressed with former vice president Joe Biden, who is atop most of the Democratic polls. “I’ve known Biden the longest of any of these folks,” Weld said.