Kennedy scion off to very fast fundraising start

Joe Kennedy III, the latest member of the famous Kennedy family to seek federal office, raised an impressive $1.3 million in the first quarter of this year in support of his Massachusetts congressional campaign.

Kennedy, the 31-year-old son of former congressman Joe Kennedy II (D-Mass.) and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is the early favorite to succeed retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

It’s rare for anyone besides a U.S. House leader to raise such a sum for a congressional campaign. In recent years, outspoken conservative Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Allen West (R-Fla.) have occasionally exceeded that total in a given quarter, but Kennedy’s total is all the more remarkable for a non-incumbent.

Of course, the Kennedy name does opens all kinds of doors — and wallets. Kennedy’s campaign announced that it had 1,500 donors for the three-month period starting in January.

Kennedy is the prohibitive favorite for the redrawn 4th district seat. His likely Republican opponent, 2010 nominee Sean Bielat, announced raising $175,000 in the first quarter.

After Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) died in 2009 and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) retired in 2010, there were no Kennedys in office in Washington for the first time in more than 60 years.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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