Friday 15 December 2017

Bobby Kennedy’s grandson Joseph III announces he will run for US Congress

The Kennedys were once an unbeatable political brand in liberal Massachusetts. Photo: AP
The Kennedys were once an unbeatable political brand in liberal Massachusetts. Photo: AP

Raf Sanchez, Washington

JOSEPH Kennedy III, the grandson of the late Bobby Kennedy, has announced that he is running for Congress, a move that could be the first step to restoring America's most famous political dynasty's place in Washington.

Following the death of Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009 and the retirement of his son Patrick from Congress in 2011, the Kennedy family was left unrepresented in national politics for the first time in 63 years.

Now the younger Mr Kennedy, the great-nephew of JFK, has said confirmed he will seek election in Massachusetts, his family's tradition power base.

The 31-year-old, who bears a strong resemblance to Bobby, is running for the state's fourth congressional district, a seat now held by Barney Frank, one of US politics' most strident liberal voices.

Speculation of a Kennedy run has mounted since Mr Frank announced in November that he would not seek re-election, and last month Mr Kennedy announced he was forming an exploratory committee, the first sign of an election bid.

Speaking ahead of a of a formal announcement later today, Mr Kennedy said: "I believe this country was founded on a simple idea: that every person deserves to be treated fairly, by each other and by their government, but that's not happening in America anymore."

He enters the race from a law background and worked as a state prosecutor in Massachusetts before resigning last month to focus on his election bid.

A Harvard Law school graduate, he speaks fluent Spanish and spent two years in the Peace Corps - an American volunteering programme that was set started by President Kennedy.

In heavily-Democratic Massachusetts his main challenge will be to overcome any challengers for the party's nomination, rather than defeating an eventual Republican opponent. The affluent district is among the most liberal in the US and there is little chance of the Republicans winning the seat.

No other Democrats have yet put themselves forward.

If Mr Kennedy is eventually elected he will be trailed by constant speculation of that he may mount a presidential bid. His great-uncle was elected to Congress from Massachusetts aged 29, before progressing to the Senate and eventually the White House.

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