Markey ‘wins’ state Dem convention

Cancellation continues an under-the-radar race

A correction has been added to this story clarifying that Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy III agreed that Markey would have won the convention and Kennedy would have won the necessary support to appear on the primary ballot.

ED MARKEY, with rival Joe Kennedy III’s blessing, is declaring himself the winner of the state Democratic Party’s endorsement for US Senate without even having to go to the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell and give a speech.

Gus Bickford, the chairman of the party, said on Monday that he was moving to cancel the May 30 convention because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bickford’s press release said Markey and Kennedy agreed the incumbent senator would have won the convention and Kennedy would have garnered the necessary 15 percent support of convention delegates to make it on to the primary ballot.

Bickford’s decision to cancel the convention goes before the full state committee for a ratifying vote at a virtual meeting on April 4. The outcome gives Markey bragging rights for holding the lead among Democratic insiders while allowing Kennedy to cast himself as the more moderate alternative with the famous name.

The convention cancellation also continues the under-the-radar nature of the race, which has featured two candidates who keep up aggressive campaign schedules but largely ignore each other. It’s as if both of them are running unopposed.

In a joint statement, Markey and Kennedy hailed the decision as “responsive and responsible.” John Walsh, Markey’s campaign manager, issued a separate statement saying both campaigns had fought hard for support at the caucuses and his candidate had come out on top with the support of 70 percent of the delegates elected through March 10.

“Our campaign saw incredible turnout by voters who came to caucus for Ed Markey because they know he is a true progressive champion who fights for the people of the Commonwealth,” Walsh said.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Kennedy moved on with his COVID-19 campaign schedule,virtually hosting Boston chef Tiffani Faison (Sweet Cheeks BBQ, Tiger Mama, and Fools Errand) as a special guest on a streaming broadcast. Faison walked Kennedy through her recipe for soy sauce and cola poached chicken while he talked about his efforts to track down ventilators and personal protective equipment.

It’s unclear whether the state party’s decision is a precursor of what’s coming with the national party conventions. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for July 10 in Milwaukee and the Republican convention is set for August 24 in Charlotte. Party officials say the conventions are still on for now, with some saying virtual conventions could be a possibility if the coronavirus cloud doesn’t lift. Bickford explored the idea of virtual conventions in Massachusetts, but ultimately decided that wouldn’t work.