I know we’re all about what the Constitution is supposed to do “on our behalf”, but can’t we be represented by someone who actually lives here?
Edward M. Kennedy Jr.’s emergence in the Bay State’s latest looming special U.S. Senate election would be a tectonic game changer, forcing leading local Democrats to think twice about jumping in and bringing a tidal wave of national money, influence and headlines to both sides of the race — again.
With the late senator’s son mulling a run, according to his brother Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrats are already gaming their options for the expected race to replace U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry if he is confirmed as secretary of state. Nationally, it’s a chance for the party to bring the late Liberal Lion’s name back to the Senate. For Republicans, that name is a red flag that could fire up the right opponent’s campaign.
“National Democrats are longing to bring Camelot back,” said GOP operative Ford O’Connell. “Republicans have a chance to narrow Democrats’ lead in the Senate.”
Kennedy, 51, has kept a low political profile, working as an environmental activist and an advocate for the disabled. A Connecticut resident, he’d likely face carpetbagging slams. While that didn’t hurt his uncle Robert F. Kennedy in New York in 1964, or his cousin Joseph Kennedy III in this year’s 4th District race, a five-month mad-dash campaign could make it tough to bounce back from any rookie mistakes that have flummoxed other Kennedys. The wheels came off cousin Caroline’s New York Senate bid in 2009 after criticism over not voting in Democratic primaries and for using the phrase “you know” well more than a hundred times in a half-hour interview. Ted Kennedy Jr.’s cousin Max also famously fumbled a budding run for the late Joe Moakley’s seat in 2001.
“You don’t dismiss anyone with the name Kennedy,” said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia. “But I think we’re past the point when anyone named Kennedy is automatically elected anywhere.”
He can dodge the Connecticut issue because he owns a house in the family compound in Hyannisport. So because he plays touch football twice a year on the Cape, he feels entitled to take the political gridiron to represent the Commonwealth.
He’s not wrong.
Kennedy did not return messages left at his Branford, Conn., home yesterday.