Back in June at the Democratic State Convention at Worcester’s DCU Center, the speech by Vicki Kennedy during the tribute to her late husband, Senator Ted Kennedy, was the highlight of the convention, even eclipsing Governor Patrick’s very good nomination acceptance speech. At the time I remember thinking “is this the launch of Vicki Kennedy’s own Senate campaign?”
The cover story in today’s Globe Magazine asks that very same question in “Vicki Kennedy opens up on Life After Teddy.” Early in the article, Vicki seems to deny interest in elective office (“while Kennedy is determined to carry on her husband’s mission, she says she doesn’t want his job.”) but Kennedy herself never expressly rules out a run for office.
The office Vicki Kennedy would most likely seek, that of US Senator, is now held by Republican Scott Brown who stunned the political world with his victory over Attorney General Martha Coakley in last January’s special election to fill “the people’s seat” that was occupied by Ted Kennedy for so many decades. A Kennedy vs Brown campaign in 2012 would draw the world’s attention to Massachusetts and with it being a presidential election year, turnout would be sky high. While Brown is sitting on a huge amount of campaign money and is capable of raising an almost unlimited amount, his efforts to “triangulate” the reactionary Republican leadership of the US Senate and the more moderate voters of Massachusetts may have already tarnished his image a bit. His personal lobbying of Governor Patrick and State Senate President Murray for slot machines for his friend at the Plainridge Race Track as well as his votes against the extension of unemployment benefits and against Elena Kagan’s nomination to the US Supreme Court won’t endear him to the independent voters who dominate high turnout elections. And neither Vicki Kennedy nor her advisers would duplicate the missed opportunities of the 2010 Coakley for Senate campaign. Wouldn’t it be ironic that if the Senate goes to the Republicans this fall, that a Kennedy have the chance to break the Republican majority in 2012.