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Kennedy scrambles

Kennedy scrambles to close gap in Massachusetts – POLITICO

But Kennedy spent $2.4 million of that campaign cash on television ads in the spring. Ceding his cash advantage — in January, Kennedy had $5.5 stashed million in the bank, compared to $1.4 million now — is a move many of his supporters now view as a mistake.

Recognizing his deficit, Kennedy is scrambling. He criss-crossed the state on a 27-hour campaign day last week and has sharpened his criticism of his rival. In addition to whacking Markey for the behavior of his “toxic” online supporters, Kennedy has accused the senator of misrepresenting his legislative record for political gain, criticized his work on racial justice and pointed out times he failed to get results for his constituents.

Kennedy’s campaign believes Markey has an advantage among voters who have already cast ballots by mail — namely white, well-educated voters in the suburbs — but that high turnout on voting day would lend itself to Kennedy.

“Don’t count him out. We’re feeling good,” Kaufman said. “We see a lot of gas in our tank still. [Markey’s] votes are mostly in. We have the opportunity, and now responsibility, to get our people out.”

The congressman’s focus in the final days of the race will be to turn out a diverse coalition of voters who will vote in person in cities like Lowell, Springfield and Worcester, among others.

Kennedy has also called in the cavalry — House colleagues are pulling out all the stops for him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an unexpected endorsement of Kennedy, and days later drew almost 600 of his supporters for a get-out-the-vote rally on Zoom. Texas Rep. Al Green and New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat traveled to Massachusetts to hit the campaign trail with Kennedy this week, hoping to spark turnout among voters of color.

Pelosi also provided a financial bump for the congressman. Kennedy raised $100,000 within a day of Pelosi’s endorsement, according to his campaign. But Markey, who’s assembled a potent small-dollar fundraising operation, says he raised four times that amount — $400,000 — in the 24 hours after Pelosi weighed in, much of it from progressives frustrated with Pelosi’s decision to intervene.

While Kennedy shied away from discussing his famous political family for most of the campaign, the family is now out in force. Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, is campaigning for her great nephew over the weekend. Kennedy’s grandmother Ethel Kennedy, the widow of former Sen. Bobby Kennedy, recently cut a video in support of her grandson.

“I hope with all my heart you’ll vote for Joe. I’m so proud of him,” Ethel Kennedy says in the video. “He reminds me of Bobby and Jack and Teddy … He’s so very special.”

A pro-Kennedy super PAC is also leaning into the Kennedy nostalgia, sending campaign mail and airing television ads that feature famed members of the Kennedy family.

“For Joe Kennedy, this fight is in his blood,” reads a piece of campaign mail that features side-by-side photos of Kennedy and his late grandfather, Robert Kennedy.

The New Leadership PAC, organized in part by Kennedy’s twin brother and other family members, has spent over $4 million in support of the congressman, and it is airing attack ads against Markey. United for Massachusetts, a pro-Markey super PAC, is not far behind, dumping $3.3 million into the race on Markey’s behalf.

Part of the reason Kennedy now finds himself as the underdog, some supporters concede, is that he never articulated a reason for challenging the incumbent or told his personal story. Polls show Kennedy — who was once considered the favorite — has not lost support over the course of his campaign so much as Markey has gradually gained it.

Kennedy has now pivoted to a closing message that focuses on inequality, citing people he met on the campaign trail who are facing challenges, such as an undocumented mother and a struggling restaurant owner.

“Here is my message to those who have tried to make this Senate race about ideology. This race is not about that, it’s about them,” he said in a speech in East Boston on Friday.

“Not one person in those cities, not one, has asked me why I’m running for Senate,” Kennedy said. “The only thing they ask is what can you do to make this better? And when I need you, will you be there?”



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COVID Kennedy

Sen. Kennedy says COVID stimulus talks turning into a ‘cluster’: ‘A true goat rodeo’ – Fox News

Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy called the Senate’s coronavirus relief talks “an impressively large cluster event.”

“As bad as it looks from the outside, you ought to see it from the inside,” Kennedy told “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday. “It is a true goat rodeo.”

Senate Republicans unveiled the “HEALS Act,” their version of a fresh round of coronavirus relief on Monday. HEALS stands for the package’s focus on Health, Economic Assistance, Liability protection, and Schools.

The $1 trillion Republican bill is the alternative to the House’s “HEROES Act,” the $3 trillion relief legislation passed in May.

Lawmakers have begun negotiating the terms of the newest stimulus package, just days before Americans will lose their boosted unemployment benefits from the federal government. More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, according to data released by the Labor Department earlier this month.

Host Sandra Smith noted that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Republicans and Democrats are nowhere close to a deal on a new coronavirus relief package, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said about 20 Republican senators think that there has already been enough stimulus.

McConnell, R-Ky., told “The Story” Wednesday night that “there are about 20 of my members who think that we’ve already done enough and some who regret that we did all that we did back in April and March.”

“I think that’s an understandable position,” he added. “The majority of my conference thinks that we do need to act again, but they believe adding $3 trillion to the national debt is a serious mistake. We have divided government.”

When Smith asked Kennedy if he supports “in its entirety what has been unveiled in the Senate by your party,” he said, “No.”

“There’s a lot of spending porn in the bill and I’ve told my colleagues and I’ve told the White House,” Kennedy said.

He agreed with McConnell, who told “The Story” on Wednesday night that it would be “a mistake” to include funding for a new FBI headquarters building in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation after the president said Republicans who opposed the idea should “go back to school.

“Now’s not the time to build a new FBI building, now is not the time to renovate the West Wing of the White House, now is not the time to give $175 million to the corporation for public radio,” Kennedy said on Thursday. “This is supposed to be a coronavirus bill.”

He went on to explain “the way you solve the unemployment compensation problem.”

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“You put a bill on the floor and let everybody have a vote, we each have one vote, and let us be senators,” Kennedy said. “And the problem we have now is that the big shots on both sides of the aisle, they’re trying to control the process, but the little shots are not going along.”

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips and Yael Halon contributed to this report.

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