Sen. Ed Markey on Friday got a major boost in the not-so-invisible primary between himself and Rep. Joe Kennedy, nabbing an endorsement from liberal firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez, who shot to fame after mounting an insurgent primary run against the then-No. 4 Democrat in the House last year, endorsed Markey in a video posted to his campaign account.
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While Kennedy has not yet announced a primary challenge against Markey, he’s considered one of the strongest potential rivals. Earlier this summer, he launched an exploratory committee and begun making key hires for a Senate run after commissioning a poll that tested his favorability against Markey. Those close to the three-term congressman told POLITICO earlier this week that he’s seriously considering getting in the race but hasn’t reached a formal decision.
In her endorsement, Ocasio-Cortez shouted out Markey’s progressive credentials, calling him “A proud and strong progressive champion for working families. Not just in Massachusetts, but across the country.”
The 29-year-old worked with Markey earlier this year to put out the Green New Deal, the landmark climate change proposal that has been the subject of mockery by Republicans and division within the Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez emphasizes that in her video, saying that Markey is “one of the few people that had the courage to stand up and take a chance.”
“Ed Markey, I know, is one of the strongest progressives that we have in the United States Senate,” she says in the video. “And in a time right now, when we have to have conversations not just about holding this administration accountable but changing the Democratic Party for the future, Ed Markey has a very critical role in making sure that climate change, as well as a bevy of other issues — health care and beyond — are critical core issues in how we fight for working people and working families in the United States.”
Her endorsement is somewhat of a blow to what likely would have been Kennedy’s most potent strengths — the idea that generational change is needed within the Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez also addressed this dynamic in her endorsement.
“He’s not just resting on his record of the past, but he’s aggressively pursuing an agenda for the future,” she said of Markey. “And that’s what a progressive is, and that’s what progressivism is all about.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement comes just weeks after Markey nabbed key backing from his fellow Massachusetts Senate colleague and a 2020 front-runner, Elizabeth Warren. The freshman congresswoman’s endorsement, however, is significant because of her immense popularity among liberal Democrats. She is also among the most outspoken in the party when it comes to her endorsement of challengers of Democratic incumbents, which has earned her some consternation in the party.