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Progressive Group MoveOn Endorses Markey Over Kennedy, Says It Will Run Ads

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., after a debate with primary challenger, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., at the studio of WGBH-TV in Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Charles Krupa/AP)
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., after a debate with primary challenger, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., at the studio of WGBH-TV in Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The progressive group MoveOn Political Action is endorsing Sen. Ed Markey for reelection, and says it will mount a digital ad campaign and voter turnout effort to help the incumbent stave off a Democratic primary challenge by Rep. Joe Kennedy.

In an interview ahead of the group's announcement, MoveOn Executive Director Rahna Epting said the 74-year-old Markey "does represent the future of this country, although he's been in Congress for over four decades."

"Sometimes our elected leaders get stale or stuck in their ways, but Sen. Markey has always put people first," Epting said. "He's always been on the forefront of progressive change. So, in many ways, this is moving on. It's moving on to the country people know we need."

An advocate for liberal causes and politicians since the Clinton impeachment saga, MoveOn has roughly 300,000 members in Massachusetts. Epting said the group surveyed members in the state, and 92% backed Markey. For comparison, 82% of national members voted to endorse presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in late June, even though he was the party's only remaining viable candidate.

MoveOn members' overwhelming support of Markey is the latest sign of his enduring popularity among progressives, despite his opponent's youth.

Epting cited Markey's sponsorship of the Green New Deal, which he introduced with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York last February, as a major cause for his progressive support, as well as his long record as an environmental champion before that.

In addition to spending an unspecified amount on pro-Markey advertising, MoveOn says its members plan to bundle "tens of thousands in fundraising contributions" to aid Markey's candidacy.

Correction: Because of inaccurate information supplied by MoveOn, an earlier version of this story misstated the percentage of group members who voted to endorse Markey.

This article was originally published on August 11, 2020.

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