One of the most famous names in American politics is back.
Ted Kennedy Jr., a Branford lawyer and the son of the late Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, announced a state senate run on Tuesday after months of speculation about his intentions. In his first run for political office, Kennedy is seeking to replace state Sen. Edward Meyer, a Democrat who is retiring this year. His famous name may be both a blessing and a curse.
“I’m proud of my family’s legacy of standing up for working families, for political, social and economic justice,” Kennedy said to the large crowd gathered to hear his announcement at the Blackstone Library in Branford.
Though the progressive policies favored by the Kennedy clan tend to be popular in bright blue Connecticut, conservatives across the country might be eager to donate money to defeat the scion of a liberal dynasty, Senate majority leader Martin Looney told the New Haven Register last week. Looney said he fears that national PACs could get involved in a relatively small election, tipping the scales in favor of the Republican candidate.
No Republicans have entered the race yet, but GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola said the party has a number of qualified potential candidates. In a statement to the News, Labriola said Connecticut doesn’t need additional Democratic legislators.
“Despite the celebrity name, the last thing the voters of the 12th District need is another rubber stamp vote for more of the same higher taxes and government spending that have held back Connecticut’s economy and left more than half of our families living paycheck to paycheck,” Labriola said.
Gary Rose, director of the Department of Government & Politics at Sacred Heart University, said he thinks it’s likely that Kennedy will pursue higher office if he wins a seat in the state Senate.
“It’s the beginning,” Rose said. “You will hear of higher aspirations. I am certain.”