Sen. Ed Markey beat back a bid on Tuesday from Rep. Joe Kennedy to end his nearly 50 years in elected office, humbling the Democratic Party’s family dynasty that had never before lost an election in Massachusetts.
The longtime legislator won the primary by campaigning as the most progressive person in the race, while emphasizing his roots as the son of a milkman from Malden.
“We made it clear that we’d rather lose fighting as hard as we could for what we believe in than in finding the middle ground,” said Markey in his victory speech. “The progressive movement knows how to fight. We will not surrender.”
About a year ago, when it became clear that the congressman would run, Markey visited his parents’ gravesite, contemplated what to do and what his parents would do, and concluded he had to run for reelection, according to campaign manager John Walsh.
His decision could’ve been described as foolish. Kennedy, 39, led in the polls from the get-go, launching a campaign focused on social and economic justice while offering a generational change to the 74-year-old Markey, who has served in Congress for over four decades.
But his critics attacked Kennedy for not articulating a reason for running besides his own ambition, and Markey deflected his opponent’s shine by projecting the power of some of the party’s brightest stars.