By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts Democrats on Tuesday will decide whether they want to position a young member of the fabled Kennedy family to join the U.S. Senate or stick with their incumbent, who has been in Congress for decades fighting to tackle climate change and reduce nuclear weapons proliferation.
This primary election pits Representative Joe Kennedy III, 39, the grandson of assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, against 74-year-old Senator Ed Markey, who has spent over 40 years in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Kennedy presented his closing argument on Monday by taking a swipe at Markey's age, saying change will not come "by entrusting our future to the same people who built our past."
Ironically, Markey has resonated with young voters. On Sunday he reminded them he co-authored the "Green New Deal" to lower carbon emissions causing climate change.
"The fight for a livable future is a youth movement," Markey tweeted.
As the junior senator from Massachusetts, Markey has had to labor in the shadow of the state's far better-known and more flamboyant senior senator, Elizabeth Warren.
But with Kennedy attacking Markey on civil rights issues and his 2002 vote in favor of authorizing the war against Iraq, Markey has had to emerge from that shadow.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
"He has absolutely found his footing in this campaign,"
said Stonehill College political science professor Peter Ubertaccio.
Whoever wins this Senate primary will be well positioned to win the November general election in this heavily Democratic state.
Meanwhile, Representatives Richard Neal and Stephen Lynch enter Tuesday's primary looking over their shoulders because of challenges from young progressives in Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and physician Robbie Goldstein, respectively.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Andy Sullivan and David Gregorio)
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