In Rep. Joe Kennedy’s concession speech, he called Sen. Ed Markey a “good man” and pledged to support him.


WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, voters ended the Kennedy family winning streak in Massachusetts.

Sen. Ed Markey, the incumbent, defeated Rep. Joe Kennedy III in the Democratic primary.

In a concession speech Tuesday night, Kennedy said he would “pledge my support to him and his campaign in the months ahead”

“The senator is a good man,” Kennedy said. “You have never heard me say otherwise.”

Markey, 74, was the frontrunner in what has become a closely watched race nationally. 

Several months ago, Kennedy was leading in polling. But Markey recently took the lead in multiple polls. According to an Emerson poll released last week, Markey was at 56% while Kennedy was at 44% with 4.6-point margin of error.

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Markey, a progressive, was first elected to the Senate in 2013, but has been a member of Congress for over 40 years. Despite running against a fresher face, Markey has received the backing of many young voters and key progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Markey has supported key progressive issues, such as the Green New Deal, which he co-sponsored.

Markey painted himself as the anti-establishment candidate going up against a member of one of the most storied political families in United States history.

Kennedy, 39, was elected to the House in 2013 and scored big name endorsements, including the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Throughout the campaign, Kennedy claimed Markey has not done enough as senator and has hit him for his record on racial inequity. Kennedy is the son of former Massachusetts Rep. Joseph Kennedy II and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, the late U.S. Attorney General and New York senator.

Kennedy became the first member of his family to lose a congressional election in the state of Massachusetts.   

Here are other key things to watch for in Tuesday’s primary:

Incumbent Rep. Richard Neal defeats progressive challenger

Neal, who has been a member of Congress for 30 years, won the Democratic nomination over his young progressive challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. 

Neal’s win comes as other high-profile Democrats have been ousted by progressives. Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri are just two of the latest progressives, both backed by Justice Democrats, to beat incumbents in Democratic primaries. Morse, 31, also received the support of Justice Democrats, as well as Ocasio-Cortez.

Neal, 71, is the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee. 

The race made national news after Morse, who is not married and is gay, was accused of inappropriate sexual contact with students when he was a guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, according to a report in the school’s student newspaper, The Daily Collegian.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Morse said: “I have never, in my life, had a non-consensual sexual encounter with anyone. I have never used my position of power as Mayor and UMass lecturer for romantic or sexual gain, or to take advantage of students.”

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Record turnout was expected in primary

Despite voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, the state prepared for a new turnout record, anticipating at least 1.35 million ballots to be cast.

William Glavin, Massachusetts’ secretary of commonwealth, said Monday that due to the amount of mail-in ballots, along with in-person votes, counting will likely be slower than in previous years. However, he noted that preliminary results are expected Wednesday morning.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an order that allowed all Massachusetts voters to opt to vote by mail for Tuesday’s primary, in addition to the November general election.

There were still in-person polling places for voters who chose not to vote by mail.


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