Massachusetts Senate Primary: Markey Defeats Kennedy

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Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has defeated Representative Joe Kennedy in the state’s hotly contested Democratic Senate primary.

The results on Tuesday has made Kennedy the first member of his storied family to lose a political race in Massachusetts.

Kennedy had stronger support among minority and working-class voters, but struggled to win over wealthier, educated white voters and younger liberals.

With 92% of precincts reporting, Markey had 55.1% of the vote to Kennedy’s 44.9%.

Markey is all but certain of winning a another term in the November election in the solidly blue state.

He initially trailed Kennedy after the 39-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy announced his challenge last fall.

But he campaigned aggressively as a liberal insurgent, out-raised his opponent and won a raft of endorsements, including from outspoken progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congresswoman.

Kennedy told supporters in Massachusetts that he had called Markey and conceded.

“I am grateful for his commitment to the commonwealth and for the energy and enthusiasm that he brought to this race,” Kennedy said of Markey.

The Senate contest divided Democratic leaders in Massachusetts and in Washington.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Kennedy, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backed Markey. Markey’s co-sponsorship of the Green New Deal with Representative Ocasio-Cortez was central to her decision to support him.

In another race pitting a Pelosi-backed candidate against a contender supported by Ocasio-Cortez, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal easily defeated Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.

Neal will run for re-election in November in the solidly Democratic 1st Congressional District in the central and western portion of the state with no Republican opponent.

Pelosi had put her clout behind Neal to help him fend off Morse, 31, who was seeking to replicate the success of three other insurgents who ousted incumbent Democrats in earlier primaries this year.

Neal, 71, first elected to Congress in 1988, took the lesson from those contests and campaigned hard. In addition to the backing of Pelosi and other influential Democratic Party leaders, he had an unusual cross-party endorsement from the state’s popular Republican governor, Charlie Baker.

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