• News & Blog Committee

Pelosi Angers Progressive Democrats with Kennedy Endorsement

By Alisa Kingsbury


Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she is endorsing Joe Kennedy III in the contentious Massachusetts Senate Primary race.


Kennedy is challenging incumbent Ed Markey, a progressive Democrat and the Senate author of the Green New Deal. He has been endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sunrise Movement, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and The Boston Globe, among other progressive organizations and politicians.


Speaker Pelosi cited her family’s close connection with the Kennedys as one of the reasons she endorsed Joe Kennedy. She also felt spurred to make her endorsement after incumbent Ed Markey’s campaign released a new ad interlaced with themes from the Kennedy legacy. The ad ends with Senator Markey, arms crossed, looking at the camera and asserting, “It’s time to start asking what your country can do for you.” She said Markey’s campaign “crossed a line” with the ad.


In an official statement, Speaker Pelosi said that Kennedy represents the “party’s future.” This is likely a reference to Senator Markey being in Congress for 44 years, first serving as a Congressman for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district from 1976 to 2013, and then serving as Senator. Kennedy is 35 years younger than Markey, and has served as Congressman since 2013. Pelosi’s statement about Kennedy being the “future” of the Democratic party seems reasonable when looking at the two men, but it is important to remember that being a younger candidate does not translate into wanting to implement progressive policies, as is evident in this race.


Pelosi’s endorsement has been met with criticism from progressive Democrats. In the past, Democratic party leadership has discouraged primary challenges of incumbent Democrats, specifically as several progressive Democrats, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the “Squad,” unseated long-term incumbents. Pelosi’s endorsement of a moderate challenger over a progressive incumbent directly contradicts this sentiment, especially because she rarely endorses candidates for Senate.


Pelosi backing the heir to a political dynasty during the same election cycle Democrats saw several progressive Presidential candidates ostracized by the DNC is another slap in the face to progressive voters.




Alisa Kingsbury is a junior from Simi Valley, California majoring in Journalism.



Note: The GW College Democrats News & Blog Committee’s mission is to highlight, empower, and facilitate the political expression of its members. As such, the views expressed in this article are based on the opinions of its author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the whole of GW College Democrats, its executive board, or its senior deputy board.