U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas of Lowell considered her own campaign to follow in the footsteps of her late husband, but announced yesterday that she would not seek the seat after being elected to her third full term in November.
“I am gratified by the encouragement I have received to consider running for the Senate, but I believe that I can best advance the interests of my constituents in the Third Congressional District and the people of Massachusetts by continuing to serve in the U.S. House,” Tsongas said in a statement.
State Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, is also openly exploring his own run for the Senate seat, though Downing’s path to the Democratic nomination is probably dependent, in part, on a multi-person race to carve up the votes in and around Boston that outnumber Downing’s base in the Berkshires.
Markey brings a significant financial advantage to the race with more than $3.1 million in his federal campaign finance account that could be put toward a Senate run, more than Lynch ($740,000) Capuano ($491,000) or Brown ($464,000) had as of the end of November.
Kerry credited Markey with authoring and passing a “visionary energy bill” to address climate change, and called him an expert on the Internet and telecommunications and new energy economies, a leader on nuclear weapons issues and “thoughtful protector” of the environment.
“Ed’s upbringing in Malden and his service as the dean of our delegation means he knows in his heart and in his head just what is important to every corner of our state. He’s passionate about the issues that Ted Kennedy and I worked on as a team for decades, whether it’s health care or the environment and energy or education,” Kerry said.
“He’s gutsy and tough, smart and sharp, a workhorse in Congress who has never forgotten where he came from or who sent him to Washington.”