United States Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has taken a significant lead over primary challenger Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) in a closely watched race.

At the beginning of this, many people thought Kennedy would walk away with the nomination, but Markey has fought hard to retain his position. The primary takes place on September 1.

Zack Budryk writes at The Hill:

New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) leads primary challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) by double digits, according to a UMass/Amherst poll released Wednesday.

Markey leads Kennedy among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters 51 percent to 36 percent in the poll, with 12 percent undecided. When Democratic-leaning voters are removed from the sample, Markey expands his lead to 50 percent to 32 percent, but the percentage of undecideds also increases to 17 percent.

The poll’s results were considerably narrower in February, when Markey led Kennedy only 43 percent to 40 percent. Markey still led slightly but the margin separating the two was the same without leaners, 39 percent to 36 percent.

Asked which candidate they trusted to handle nine issues, respondents named Markey for all but one. A plurality of voters trusted him most to handle the economy, health care, taxes, education, climate change, President Trump, transportation and the coronavirus pandemic. Race relations are the only issue where Kennedy leads, 39 percent to 37 percent.

When I talk to people here in Massachusetts, pretty much everyone thinks Kennedy sees the United States Senate as little more than a stepping stone on his way to the White House. I have to wonder if that’s playing a role in his poll numbers.

Stephanie Murray of Politico has more on this:

Kennedy allies sweat as Massachusetts Senate race tightens

Joe Kennedy was once thought to be such a lock to defeat Sen. Ed Markey that there was widespread speculation in Massachusetts that Markey might just retire to avoid a humbling end.

But Markey is piling up endorsements and closing in on the young congressman in the polls by running a policy-heavy campaign that seems tailored for the moment. There’s growing sentiment that Kennedy underestimated the backlash he’d face for challenging the veteran incumbent, who has become beloved among progressives for his work on the Green New Deal.

“What Markey hadn’t done in the past was flex his muscles, flex his policy muscles.” said Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos. “Now he’s doing that and I think Kennedy is realizing policy runs deep in Massachusetts. Personality and persona are important too, but in Massachusetts policy runs very deep.”

Here are a couple of entertaining moments from their most recent debate:

I’m no fan of Markey, but I don’t believe Joe Kennedy III would even have a career in politics if his last name was “Smith.”


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