Joe Kennedy Won’t Seek Massachusetts Senate Seat

Posted September 7, 2009 at 5:44pm

Former Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) announced Monday that he will not run to succeed his late uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died Aug. 25 of brain cancer.“My father called politics an honorable profession, and I have profound respect for those who choose to advance the causes of social and economic justice in elective office. After much consideration, I have decided that the best way for me to contribute to those causes is by continuing my work at Citizens Energy Corporation,— Kennedy said in a statement posted on the nonprofit group’s Web site. Joe Kennedy is the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.).Kennedy’s move opens the field for a slew of potential Democratic candidates, including several House Members. It was expected that most Members of the Bay State delegation would have deferred to Joe Kennedy, and the family’s political legacy, if he wanted to run. Since the special Senate election will take place early next year, Members do not have to give up their House seat to run, a fact that makes the race all the more enticing. Thus far, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is the only Member to make a move toward running, but several others are considering the race. Lynch picked up the necessary paperwork Friday to run in the special primary, which is scheduled for Dec. 8. The special general election will be held Jan. 19.Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released a statement Monday that praised Joe Kennedy and also confirmed he is weighing his political options.“As the most senior member of the Massachusetts and New England House Delegations and as the Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, I now must weigh where I can make the greatest impact on the issues facing the people of Massachusetts,— Markey said.Other possible candidates include Democratic Reps. Mike Capuano and John Tierney, as well as former Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.), who is now chancellor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. So far, state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) is the only major candidate formally in the race.Meanwhile, the state Legislature will consider a proposal Wednesday that would change state law to allow Gov. Deval Patrick (D) to appoint an interim Senator who would serve until the special election is held, a request that the late Senator made shortly before his death.