Kennedy and Markey Exchange Blows in First Debate



Incumbent Senator Ed Markey on the left and challenger Joe Kennedy on the right

Andrew Luarasi, Niall Horgan, CBN Reporters

WGBH in Boston hosted the first debate between incumbent US senator Ed Markey and US House Representative Joe Kennedy. The candidates faced off against each other in an action-packed hour-long debate. Kennedy, who has served in the House of Representatives for eight years, is challenging incumbent Ed Markey. Markey has been in his current seat since 2013. Before that, he was in the House of Representatives from 1976 to 2013. Although both candidates agree on most issues, Kennedy is trying to bring a new and younger look to the Democratic Party. Another key issue that separates the two is political action committee (PAC) money. Kennedy has agreed to not take any PAC money, while Markey hasn’t agreed to that pledge. Although they cannot directly coordinate with campaigns,  PACs put money into the system, via advertisements and lobbying to influence elections and different legislation.

The debate started off slow but ramped up quickly. Senator Markey consistently brought up his record and decades of his experience in Congress. Markey brought up that he’s co-sponsored the Green New Deal with New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, pushed for more gun background checks, and fought the fossil fuel industry. Markey said, “The Green New Deal, since we introduced it, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and I, just one year ago, it’s transformed the debate on the issue.”

However, Kennedy also used Markey’s extended stay in the Government to his advantage. Kennedy brought up to votes that Markey gave in the Senate. The first one was in 2002 when Markey was in the House of Representatives. It was for the authorization of military force against Iraq and although more Democrats voted against it, Markey voted for it. Kennedy went after Markey by saying, ” Senator Markey fired back, “George Bush lied, Donald Rumsfeld lied to the American people about the presence of nuclear weapons in Iraq. It was a false pretense to start a war. I’m still angry about that lie to the American people. I regret that vote.” And he voted for the Iraq War without a sunset fruition say you got to come back and justify it, without a definition of success and without a question as to the burden the Men and Women of uniform and that authorization is used 20 years later.” The second was in 2013 when the US voted for the authorization of military force against Syria. Markey voted neither yes or no and abstained instead. Markey replied that he regretted voting Yes to the Iraq War and said that he abstained because he wanted to know more details about the Syrian conflict and possible use of chemical weapons. 

Despite the back and forth between the two, overall they agree on most key issues.

The race is shaping up to be a contest between an established older generation incumbent and a rising younger generation challenger. The Primary election is scheduled for September 1st, we’ll make sure to keep you updated as the race heads into the Spring and Summer.