Senator Ed Markey could have a challenging year ahead with his Senate seat hanging in the balance.
The 2020 Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary will be the toughest election of his 40-year Congressional career.
New numbers show Markey’s challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy III has raised $2.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared to Markey’s $1.4 million in the same quarter.
But the Malden native says he has "great confidence" that he’ll win, despite Kennedy leading in recent polls.
Markey sat down with NBC10 Boston political reporter Alison King at Dempsey’s in Medford to talk about his campaign, his recent accomplishments, and why he thinks he deserves to be re-elected.
Markey is a regular at the Malden restaurant and says it is his working-class hometown that has helped shape his legislation.
When asked about his recent work in the Senate, Markey pointed to his recently passed law blocking robocalls, the $25 million he helped secure for studying the causes of increased gun violence, and his leadership on net neutrality.
“I’m very proud of that because I am the author of most of the telecommunications laws that have unleashed this technological revolution,” he said.
The high-tech industry may seem an unlikely focus for the 73-year-old Markey but working on issues relevant to young people has been his hallmark – most recently his climate change legislation: The Green New Deal, that he co-sponsored with Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
So, how did that union happen?
“I called her and asked if we could meet and we talked for a couple of hours,” he recalled. “And it has changed the debate in our country and in fact the world about this whole issue.
It was a smart strategy just months after his House colleague, Michael Capuano, a 20-year incumbent, was defeated by Ayanna Pressley.
Up-and-coming politicians see no reason to wait their turn.
Congressman Kennedy cited the need for generational change when he announced he would challenge Markey.
When asked if he saw that coming, Markey said, “I didn’t anticipate it, but I accept it as a challenge and I am going to run on my record. I’m going to run on all of the issues that I’ve been leading on and delivering on.”
Markey has enormous support from establishment democrats and more importantly, activists who are ready and willing to do the grassroots work.
“I’ve been gratified by the incredible level of response,” he said.
And yet, polls show Kennedy ahead.
“All I can tell you is that at the grass roots…activists, people who are traditional leaders in the communities, they’re coming together to organize for me,” Markey said.
But is he nervous that he could lose his seat?
“You know what, I take it as an incredible challenge. To tell my story, to go out there every single day and to fight for the things that I believe in," Markey said. "And I have great confidence that I’m going to win this election.”