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Rep. Joe Kennedy III concedes US Senate primary race to Sen. Ed Markey

Rep. Joe Kennedy III concedes US Senate primary race to Sen. Ed Markey

by Shaun Chaiyabhat I WCVB 5  |  Published on September 2, 2020

BOSTON — U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III has conceded the Democratic Senate primary to incumbent Sen. Ed Markey.

NewsCenter 5’s Shaun Chaiyabhat reported just after 10:15 p.m. Tuesday that Kennedy called Markey.

In a speech to his supporters in Watertown, Kennedy said he congratulated Markey and pledged his support to the senator and his campaign in the months ahead.

“The senator is a good man. You have never heard me say otherwise,” Kennedy said. “It was difficult, at times, between us, but elections often get heated. But I’m grateful for the debates, for his commitment to our commonwealth and for the energy and enthusiasm that he brought to this race.”

“I extended my respect and congratulations for a campaign that has been fierce at times, but always fueled by a shared commitment to the people of this great commonwealth,” Markey said to his supporters during a victory speech outside the Malden Public Library. “We both love Massachusetts and the United States of America. I look forward to talking with Congressman Kennedy and working with him to make the lasting, meaningful change that I know we are both committed to.”

This marks the first time a member of the Kennedy family has lost a statewide election in Massachusetts.

“Obviously, these results are not the ones we were hoping for,” Kennedy said. “But to everyone who fought with us, for everyone who stood with us, for everyone who believed in us and gave us their sweat and their tears and their hearts and their souls to this fight — I am so proud of what we accomplished, of what we built together.”

Markey, 74, assumed his current office in July 2013 after winning a special election. He was chosen to serve out the balance of John Kerry’s sixth Senate term after Kerry was appointed U.S. Secretary of State. The Malden native then won a full six-year term by winning a 2014 Senate election.

Before his Senate appointment, Markey served the 7th District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from November 1976 through July 2013. He won 19 reelection campaigns during his tenure in the House.

Markey is the Senate author of the Green New Deal, a proposed legislation package focused on climate change and energy policy. His co-author on the bill is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, who endorsed him in the primary race. Markey also served as the chair of the House Energy Independence Committee from March 2007 until January 2011.

“This campaign has always been about the young people of this country,” Markey said. “You are our future, and thank you for believing in me because I believe in you. If we all keep believing together, we may just get my sneakers to last another eight weeks on the campaign trail.”

Kennedy, 39, assumed his current office as the representative for Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District in January 2013, replacing longtime congressman Barney Frank following his retirement. He currently sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and chose to challenge Markey for his Senate seat in September 2019.

He is the son of former U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy II, a grandson of former U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the grandnephew of former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. His great-grandfather, Joe Kennedy Sr., was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom from March 1938 to October 1940.

Kennedy III had received an endorsement from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who chose him to deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address.

“No matter the results tonight, I would do this again with all of you in a heartbeat,” Kennedy said. “We may have lost the final vote count tonight, but we built a coalition that will endure. Because this coalition — our coalition — is the future of a Democratic Party.”

Markey will face attorney Kevin O’Connor in the November general election, as he is projected to defeat Shiva Ayyadurai in the Republican Senate primary.

“Today is just the beginning for our movement,” Markey said. “I am energized by everyone standing up to make your voices heard. I am proud of this campaign and what we stand for, and I am hopeful about the future of our country. My faith is renewed each day by your determination, your commitment and your refusal to give up on your dreams.

“Together, we will create a healthier, fairer, more prosperous, peaceful and hope-filled future for everyone — especially the children in our country.” he added.

O’Connor, 58, has held leadership positions in the Massachusetts legal community over the past three decades. The Dover resident served on the executive committee of the Boston Bar Association Council, co-chaired the BBA’s business litigation committee and was appointed as a founding member of the BBA’s diversity and inclusion committee.

The Boston College Law School graduate is a longstanding fellow of the Boston Bar Foundation and was co-chair of the BFF’s 2020 John and Abigail Adams Ball, the largest event for legal aid funding in Massachusetts.

Ayyadurai, 56, holds four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including a Ph. D. in biological engineering and is a Fulbright Scholar. He has also started several tech companies and is the founder and current chief executive officer of CytoSolve, Inc.

He ran as an independent in the 2018 U.S. Senate election against incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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