Monday 22 January 2018

Democrats woo Ted's widow to win back late senator's seat

Victoria Kennedy touted as only hope to regain Massachusetts for party

David Usborne

Nostalgia and political desperation seem to be combining in the minds of some East Coast Democrats who are not so discreetly signalling to the widow of the late Teddy Kennedy that she may be the only person capable of wresting back the US Senate seat he once held when it comes up for grabs again in two years' time.

The courting of Victoria Reggie Kennedy (56) was inevitable. It is entering the public arena days from the first anniversary of the death of her late husband after a long fight to survive a brain tumour and as Massachusetts -- for the first time in decades -- enters a new electoral season without a Kennedy in Washington.

For her part, Mrs Kennedy is making a vigorous effort to stifle speculation that she may yet attempt to re-ignite the Camelot flame in the Bay State. "I think there's more than one way to serve," she told yesterday, the website of the New York-based Irish Voice.

"And for me, that's not it. I have enormous respect for people who do. And I think I can have a wonderful, productive life serving, but that doesn't have to be elective office."

Few things distress Democrats more than the memories of their botched attempt to hold on to Teddy Kennedy's seat after his death last August.

It was kept warm briefly by a Democrat appointed by the governor of the state. But a special election in January saw the party's candidate, Martha Coakley, trounced by Senator Scott Brown, a dashing Republican neophyte who had backing from the Tea Party movement.

Seven months on, the party is coming to terms with something else. While Senator Brown seemed to come from nowhere with scanty credentials that included posing in his younger years for a centre-page spread in Cosmopolitan magazine, in office he is proving unexpectedly effective.

A recent Boston Globe poll showed him winning the approval of 55pc of voters. Only 18pc voiced their disapproval.

The opportunity to unseat Mr Brown is still two years away, but Democrats are anxious to find a candidate who may be up to the job. Hence their gravitation once again to a Kennedy name, even if attained only by marriage.

She would be "a superb candidate, no question", William Delahunt, a congressman from Massachusetts told 'The Washington Post'. He, like others in the party, believes she would be the natural choice.

"Does she have it? Yeah, she's got it in spades. Anyone would tout her if you're trying to recruit candidates." (© Independent News Service, London)

Irish Independent

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