Longtime Democratic Rep. Ed Markey threw himself into the race Thursday to succeed Sen. John Kerry in Massachusetts, citing a growing conservative influence on politics.
"I have decided to run for the US Senate because this fight is too important,” Markey said in a statement to supporters Thursday evening after announcing his plans to the Boston Globe. “There is so much at stake. I refuse to allow the Tea Party-dominated Republican Party to lead us off the fiscal cliff and into recession. I won’t allow the NRA to obstruct an assault weapons ban yet again. I will not sit back and allow oil and coal industry lobbyists to thwart our clean energy future or extremists to restrict women’s rights and health care."
The Senate campaign website, www.edmarkey.org, was functional Friday morning.
Markey's statement makes him the first announced candidate for the yet-to-be-scheduled special election to fill Kerry's seat in the Senate, and it's also a likely attempt to begin clearing the field.
Fellow Democratic Reps. Mike Capuano and Stephen Lynch have indicated interest in the race but have yet to announce their decisions.
Democrat Edward Kennedy Jr., son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, announced Monday he would not be running for his father's former seat. Actor Ben Affleck also announced Monday he would not run for the seat after becoming the subject of Senate speculation after failing during an interview to close the door on a bid.
Republican speculation has centered around outgoing Sen. Scott Brown, who lost his bid for re-election in November to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
President Barack Obama on Dec. 21 announced Kerry as his choice for secretary of state. Kerry must be confirmed by the Senate then resign his congressional seat before a special election is scheduled and an interim successor is chosen by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.