The Senate race in Massachusetts is blue on blue in a blue state so the seat will remain safely Democratic whatever the outcome in Tuesday’s primary. That’s little solace for Democrats torn apart by a race that forces them to choose between Joseph Kennedy III, a rising star in the party and heir to the storied Kennedy legacy, and incumbent Senator Ed Markey, a champion of progressive causes in the House and Senate for 47 years—longer than Kennedy, 39, has been alive.
Kennedy has struggled to explain why he’s running, other than that he’s a Kennedy and would “leverage” the power of a Senate seat better than the current occupant. Markey, 74, has the backing of fellow progressives Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and is recognized as a leader on environmental issues.
The contest between Kennedy, whose family has never lost a political contest in the state, and Markey doesn’t break along any of the usual fault lines, ideological or generational. Markey hasn’t lost touch with his constituents and still maintains his residence in Malden, Massachusetts, in the house where he grew up, and where his father was a milkman.