Senator Robert Kennedy of Massachusetts?

John F. Kerry and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the MA Democratic convention, June 2008

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. introduced Sen. John Kerry at the MA Democratic party convention earlier this month. RFK Jr. was filling in for his ailing uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy.


All this speculation of late as to who will be The Chosen One to fill Senator Ted Kennedy’s cavernous shoes in the United States Senate strikes me as morbidly premature. However, our readers might be interested to know that RFK Jr.’s name has come up several times in recent discussions amongst Massachusetts political insiders as one potentially very worthy successor.

Again, I stress that this is little more than speculation on the part of various politicos and pundits (and we’ve all seen how that often turns out in reality). So take it with however many grains of salt you wish.

It seems callous and irresponsible of the media to obsess on this while Senator Kennedy is fighting brain cancer, even if the idea of the next Democratic Senator from the great State of Massachusetts being a Kennedy might even please the Senator himself. It’s just too soon to even go there right now, isn’t it?

Obviously the question is floating in the air, though: would Bobby Kennedy Jr. have an interest in carrying on his uncle Ted’s work in the Senate?

Most likely yes, since he’s expressed interest in running for his father’s former Senate seat in New York before (although it appears Hillary Clinton will be occupying it for a while longer yet). Could RFK Jr. do great things for the people of Massachusetts? Well, of course, we already know the answer to that.

Only one problem with this whole political dream scenario: Bobby doesn’t live in Massachusetts. He’s been a resident of New York State for more than 25 years, and may not be able to uproot so easily for family reasons. But it’s interesting to ponder…and of course, the media just can’t resist an opportunity to speculate about who will take Teddy’s place someday.

Here’s one recent report from the Politicker which certainly makes quite a few large leaps, but we’ll post it for your consideration, anyway.


Sure, Ted is taking up some of his Senate duties while he recovers from treatment for a serious brain tumor, but that’s not going to stop the race to succeed him.

While several family member’s names have been arbitrarily tossed around, only one has recently expressed interest in joining the world’s most exclusive club: the namesake of the late Senator from New York.

It was well over a year ago when Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s name started appearing on lists of those who would seek Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s sure-to-be vacant New York Senate seat. And he confirmed his interest in the February 2007 issue of O Magazine, telling Oprah Winfrey, “If Hillary left the Senate, I might run for that seat.” He said he had a desire to seek the Senate or New York governor’s mansion, “[b]ut my friends are in those offices, and I’m not going to run against them.”

We’ll wait and see if he moves his voter registration to Hyannis Port.




Filed under election 2008, hillary clinton, JFK, John F. Kennedy, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Senator Robert Kennedy of Massachusetts?

  1. Allison

    I agree with your post that it’s a little too soon to be talking about replacing Ted while he’s still recovering from his illness. Still, it would be great to have RFK Jr. finally get into public office. I wonder if he’d actually uproot his family to another state though (and what about his two older kids from his first marriage?) I guess he could always run for attorney general of NY or governor of NY or wait until Hillary vacates her seat. I guess we’ll see.

  2. Hey Allison –

    Yep, it seems that Senate seat in MA should go to a Kennedy…and I’m guessing the people of MA would agree if presented with a great candidate who is committed to carrying on Ted’s grand legislative tradition…and who also happens to be a Kennedy.

    But the residency issue could be a problem for Bobby. His roots are very deep in NY, he still has three kids living at home (if my math is correct)…the eldest three are off at college now.

    Obviously, he’s got a lot to think about.

    Send him your support and good thoughts.:)

  3. JRadelson

    Isn’t ironic that a Kennedy could once day run for office in Massachusetts and be considered a carpetbagger! My prayers are with Ted. I also think Bobby, Jr. would be a fine representative in the Senate.

  4. EMoore

    Joe Kennedy strikes me as the most hard-headed of that generation, and would by far be my own first choice – but apparently something in his personal life has forced him to step back, so I would be surprised, though pleased, to see a return. I see Joe as the only real doer of his generation of Kennedys, although Patrick, son of Edward, works pretty hard.

    RFKJR is an activist but not a doer as I speak of one: someone who works within the government to accomplish change. Activists work on the outside and can have influence but not effect: the real work must and always will take place on the inside. Little Bobby strikes me as someone who does not fit in well, and had little influence except with those who already agree with him (and they love him, of course). Arrogance has not worked for Bush, and RFKJR would have a similar problem.

    As for Massachusetts, if they were foolish enough to elect someone who has lived out of state for 25 years, then they deserve what they will get: someone who thinks he knows what they need better than they do.

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