Kennedy to Skip Rhode Island Senate Race

Posted March 30, 2005 at 4:09pm

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) opted today to forgo next year’s Senate race in the Ocean State.

All eyes had been on Kennedy since he notified supporters last week that he would reconsider his December decision not to run amid rumors that Rep. James Langevin (D) would also skip the race.

Langevin, whom the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had been courting, announced last week that he would not seek the Democratic nod to challenge Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R) despite leading the freshman Senator by double digits in early polls.

Kennedy’s announcement leaves only Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown — a young, up-and-coming pol who is just half way through his first term in elective office — running on the Democratic side.

Former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D) is still mulling a bid.

The DSCC has viewed Rhode Island as a prime pickup opportunity because the state usually leans Democratic. But with neither House Member willing to join the battle, the party is left without a natural frontrunner.

Kennedy had said that he would have to weigh whether he could help Rhode Island more by seeking a Senate seat or by gaining seniority on the House Appropriations Committee in making his decision.

“But over the past few days, I have determined that I can make the greatest difference in the lives of Rhode Island families by remaining on the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives and fighting for their priorities,” Kennedy said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Kennedy’s decision comes the same day as news broke that his mother’s troubles with alcoholism have worsened.

Kennedy reportedly is trying to gain guardianship over his mother Joan, ex-wife of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), to ensure that she receives treatment.