Ed Markey Defeats Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts Democratic Senate Primary

Sen. Ed Markey speaks at a campaign stop in Brookline, Mass., August 31, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Incumbent Senator Ed Markey (D., Mass.) has won the Democratic Senate primary in Massachusetts against Joe Kennedy III.

Markey’s defeat of Kennedy marks the first time a member of the Kennedy family has lost a congressional race in Massachusetts. Markey, who has spent 44 years in the Senate, has made a name as a progressive lawmaker who co-sponsored the Green New Deal legislation spearheaded by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.).

With 38 percent of votes tallied, Markey received 54 percent of the vote while Kennedy received about 45 percent.

“No matter the results tonight, I would do this again with all of you in a heartbeat,” Kennedy told supporters after conceding the race.

Kennedy has served as the U.S. representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district, south of Boston, since 2013. In deciding to run for the Senate, Kennedy effectively chose not to seek reelection in his district.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi raised eyebrows when she endorsed Kennedy in the race, backing a newcomer against a seasoned incumbent who enjoyed the support of progressives. The endorsement drew the ire of Ocasio-Cortez, who publicly backed Markey.

An incumbent backed by Pelosi, Representative Richard Neal (D., Mass.), easily won reelection against primary challenger Alex Morse, the current mayor of Holyoke. Neal led Morse by about 20 points late on Tuesday.

Morse was backed by progressives, and faced allegations of sexual assault that were later found to be suspect.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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