Markey and Kennedy to debate for U.S. Senate seat

Markey and Kennedy to debate for US Senate seat

One of the hottest and most closely watched U.S. Senate races in the country is in Massachusetts. Congressman Joe Kennedy III is challenging incumbent Sen. Ed Markey.

Twenty-four hours after thousands protested George Floyd's death with peaceful rallies before things turned violent in Boston, Sen. Markey and Kennedy will likely have to explain why they feel they can best represent black voters in Massachusetts.

"What both candidates need to do as very affluent white men is listen. I think to show humility at this moment and to listen and not preach to and have that conversation I think is how both candidates would best play it," said Dr. Erin O'Brien, a political science professor at UMass Boston.

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Dr. O'Brien feels the one thing the 37-year-old Kennedy has to do if he hopes to win Markey's seat is come up with a better answer as to why he deserves it, since they basically agree on everything.

“I think the one danger he has is with COVID and these protests. Why should democrats be spending energy on this race? Most Democrats like Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy. Why make me choose?” she asked.

Recent polls show Kennedy leading the 73-year-old Markey. He originally stated that he would not run against Sen. Markey, who has served in Washington for 43 years, but then announced his candidacy.

"He doesn't want to run against Ayanna Pressley or Maura Healey or Catherine Clarke. So it looks like Ed Markey is someone who would be easier to beat. But running a campaign that seems a little more of a vanity project, I don't think voters will make him pay, but it's a question I have going into tonight," O’Brien said.

The Democratic Primary election is September 1. The winner will face the Republican nominee in the November 3 general election.