Democrats from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C., could almost be heard licking their chops Tuesday night as Amy Kennedy rolled up 59% of the vote in the Democratic Party primary for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd District.
Considering the name and widespread financial contacts of the “First Family” of the Democratic Party, many party activists consider the wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and daughter-in-law of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy a cinch to take out one of their top targets: Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who switched from Democrat to Republican earlier this year and pledged his “undying support” to President Donald Trump.
While Amy Kennedy will have no problem attracting big money and national press coverage, the guarantee of victory the family name once carried does not exist anymore.
Between brothers John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy, members of the family won sixteen general elections, from JFK’s first race for the House from Massachusetts in 1946 to Edward’s last Senate race in 2006.
But the mantra “Kennedys Don’t Lose” started to lose its potency as the next generation began seeking office.
In 1986, Robert Kennedy’s eldest child, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, lost a bid for Congress from Maryland’s 2nd District to the late Republican Rep. Helen Delich Bentley.
Kathleen won the lieutenant governorship of Maryland in 1994, but eight years later, she lost a race for governor to Republican Bob Ehrlich.
Other family members fell short in Democratic Party primaries. Mark Shriver, son of Eunice and Sargent Shriver and nephew of the Kennedy brothers, lost the Democratic Party primary for Congress from Maryland’s 8th District to current Senator Chris Van Hollen.
Chicago businessman Christopher Kennedy, one of RFK’s eleven children, placed third in the 2018 Democratic Party primary for governor of Illinois and carried only two counties in the Prairie State.
The Kennedy name still does pack a political punch in New England. Patrick Kennedy, Amy’s husband, was U.S. Representative from Rhode Island from 1994-2010. Joe Kennedy, another son of RFK, represented Massachusetts in the House from 1986-1998. His son Joe, III is a Massachusetts congressman and the front-runner in the Democratic Party Senate primary later this year.
Edward Kennedy Jr., namesake son of the late senator, is a Democrat state senator from Connecticut.
Outside of New England, however, the Kennedy name does not ensure victory and it seems a fair guess that Amy Kennedy has her work cut out for her in a district that gave Trump a 50% to 46% win in 2016 and was in Republican hands for 24 years before Van Drew won as a Democrat in 2018.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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