Call it Kennedy 4.0

Joseph P. Kennedy III, running to succeed retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) in the House, flew to Charlotte Tuesday to make a brief introduction before a video tribute to his great uncle, former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Congress has been devoid of the Kennedys since former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-Mass.) retired last year, but veteran Massachusetts political observers agree that Joseph Kennedy's election is a sure bet -- unless he commits an unforced error.

The rise of Joseph Kennedy, 31, a former county prosecutor, mirrors that of the former senator, who first ran for Congress in his early 30s -- after serving as a county prosecutor.

After tonight's appearance, Kennedy plans to fly back Wednesday to Massachusetts to continue campaigning. The reason? Despite his widespread name recognition and the aura of inevitably, he faces a challenge in Thursday's Massachusetts Democratic primary, meaning he'll be watching election returns as President Obama speaks here in Charlotte.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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Rachel Weiner · September 4, 2012