Sen. Edward J. Markey fended off a primary challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy, making it the first time a Kennedy has lost a statewide election in Massachusetts.
Markey, 74, faced Kennedy, 39, who was not yet born when the senator began his political career, and who came into the race with a long list of endorsements. But Kennedy’s message of generational change, which helped power some primary challenges in other states, did not resonate as much as Markey’s focus on his long liberal record and his sponsorship of the Green New Deal.
Kennedy addressed his supporters to concede the race shortly after 10:30 p.m., saying he had built a campaign around people “left behind,” naming some of the working-class towns he competed in the hardest.
“The senator is a good man. You have never heard me say otherwise,” Kennedy said. “It was difficult at times between us. Good elections often get heated. But I’m grateful for the debates, for his commitment to our commonwealth, and for the energy and enthusiasm he brought to his race.”
Markey won a special election in 2013, replacing then-Secretary of State John F. Kerry, won and a full term one year later, but when the race began he lacked the clear name recognition or national following of his predecessors. Since Kennedy was born, just five Democrats have been elected to represent Massachusetts in the Senate. Just one — Markey — never ran for president.