In the Endorsement Battle with Joe Kennedy, Ed Markey Is Winning

A guide to who's with whom in the closely watched U.S. Senate race.

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III elbow bumps Sen. Edward J. Markey after their debate at the Western Mass News station in Springfield, MA on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Per tradition over here at Boston, the usual disclaimer: Endorsements tell only part of the story in a campaign, but they do show where allegiances lie, and help candidates define themselves in concrete terms by the company they keep. In the particularly heated race between Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy III for Markey’s Senate seat, endorsements have become especially valuable, and controversial.

For Markey, earning support from the likes of Elizabeth Warren helps him identify himself as the more progressive candidate in the contest, while emphasizing his ties to 30-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and co-authorship of the Green New Deal helps deflate the pitch from Kennedy that the incumbent is too old and entrenched to represent the interests of young voters.

Kennedy, meanwhile, has some fairly prominent colleagues in Congress along for the primary ride, most notably John Lewis, the late civil rights icon and congressman, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

For what it’s worth, Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Seth Moulton, who each won their seats by challenging incumbents, have both said they will not be endorsing in the primary, which will be held on Sept. 1, with mail-in ballots in the works for those who don’t want to vote in person.

Some of the most contentious moments of the campaign so far have revolved around endorsements, in ways that have tended to put Kennedy on the defensive. Kennedy announced, then abruptly canceled, a virtual campaign event featuring Broadway stars after the celebrities pulled out of the fundraiser under pressure from Markey stans online (in response, Kennedy’s campaign fired off a testy statement condemning what it called a coordinated “cyber-bullying” campaign fueling the fracas). His team also lashed out at the Boston Globe after its editorial board endorsed Markey this week, attempting a rhetorical judo move by dismissing the paper as serving “disproportionately white, well-off, well-educated readers” and framing its backing of Markey as support for “the status quo.”

In August, the race saw yet another headline-grabbing endorsement: A late-coming show of support for Kennedy from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who made her announcement via video August 20, with just under two weeks to go before the Sept. 1 primary. Markey responded in notably gracious fashion, both congratulating his opponent and praising his high-profile backer in a statement.

In terms of sheer volume of support from powerful allies, the advantage clearly goes to Markey. How much that will matter in the end is unclear, but it’s possible it could tip a very tight race in his favor. Polls initially showed Kennedy with a slight lead, but now show Markey inching ahead in a very tight race. Twin forces that have historically proved powerful in Massachusetts politics are also at play: Markey is an incumbent, and Kennedy is a Kennedy. But in a race that’s all about defining who these men are beyond those two factors, here is the state of play for endorsements:

Endorsements for Ed Markey

Elizabeth Warren

Other members of the MA Delegation

  • Rep. Richard Neal
  • Rep. Jim McGovern
  • Rep. Lori Trahan
  • Rep. Stephen Lynch
  • Rep. Bill Keating


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Sens. Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer

The Boston Globe Editorial Board

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone

Other Mayors

  • Lawrence: Dan Rivera
  • Worcester: Joe Petty
  • Brockton: Robert Sullivan
  • Lynn: Thomas McGee
  • Quincy: Tom Koch
  • Lawrence: Dan Rivera
  • Haverhill: James Fiorentini
  • Malden: Gary Christenson
  • Medford: Breanna Lungo-Koehn
  • Revere: Brian Arrigo
  • Attleboro: Paul Heroux
  • Pittsfield: Linda Tyer
  • Fitchburg: Stephen DiNatale
  • Woburn: Scott Galvin
  • Northampton: David Narkewicz
  • Melrose: Paul Brodeur
  • Newburyport: Donna Holaday
  • Easthampton: Nicole LaChapelle
  • North Adams: Tom Bernard
  • Agawam: William Sapelli
  • Greenfield: Roxann Wedegartner
  • Chicopee: John Vieau

Attorney and Climate Activist Zephyr Teachout

Boston City Councilors Ricardo Arroyo, Kenzie Bok

Tom Steyer

Mike Dukakis

State Senators

  • Sonia Chang Díaz
  • Michael Barrett
  • Michael Brady
  • Williams Brownsberger
  • Jo Comerford
  • Cynthia Creem
  • Brendan Crighton
  • Sal DiDomenico
  • James Eldridge
  • Barry Finegold
  • Cindy Friedman
  • Anne Gobi
  • Patricia Jehlen
  • John Keenan
  • Edward Kennedy
  • Jason Lewis
  • Joan Lovely
  • Michael Moore
  • Marc Pacheco
  • Michael Rodrigues
  • Rebecca Rausch
  • Michael Rush
  • Karen Spilka
  • Jim Welch
  • Su Moran

State Representatives

  • Carlos González
  • José Tosado
  • Marcos Devers
  • Frank Moran
  • Dan Sena
  • Andy Vargas
  • James Arciero
  • Brian Ashe
  • Bruce Ayers
  • Ruth Balser
  • Christine Barber
  • John Barrett
  • Fmr. Jennifer Benson
  • Natalie Blais
  • Fmr. Paul Brodeur
  • Daniel Cahill
  • Linda Campbell
  • Peter Capano
  • Daniel Carey
  • Gerard Cassidy
  • Tackey Chan
  • Michelle Ciccolo
  • Mike Connolly
  • Dan Cullinane
  • Mark Cusack
  • Josh Cutler
  • Michael Day
  • Marjorie Decker
  • Robert DeLeo
  • Marcos Devers
  • Mindy Domb
  • Daniel Donahue
  • Paul Donato
  • William Driscoll
  • Michelle DuBois
  • Carolyn Dykema
  • Lori Ehrlich
  • Nika Elugardo
  • Tricia Farley-Bouvier
  • Dylan Fernandes
  • Carole Fiola
  • William Galvin
  • Sean Garballey
  • Colleen Garry
  • Carmine Gentile
  • Carlos Gonzalez
  • Kenneth Gordon
  • Tami Gouveia
  • Danielle Gregoire
  • Patricia Haddad
  • Richard Haggerty
  • Stephan Hay
  • Jonathan Hecht
  • Chris Hendricks
  • Natalie Higgins
  • Russell Holmes
  • Kevin Honan
  • Daniel Hunt
  • Louis Kafka
  • Mary Keefe
  • Kay Khan
  • Kathy Lanatra
  • John Lawn
  • David LeBoueuf
  • Jack Lewis
  • David Linsky
  • Jay Livingstone
  • Adrian Madaro
  • John Mahoney
  • Elizabeth Malia
  • Ronald Mariano
  • Paul Mark
  • Christopher Marke
  • Joseph McGonagle
  • Joan Meschino
  • Christina Minicucci
  • Liz Miranda
  • Rady Mom
  • Frank Moran
  • Michael Moran
  • James Murphy
  • Harold Naughton
  • Tram Nguyen
  • Jerald Parisella
  • Sarah Peake
  • Alice Peisch
  • Thomas Petrolati
  • Denise Provost
  • David Robertson
  • Maria Robinson
  • David Rogers
  • John Rogers
  • Daniel Ryan
  • Lindsay Sabadosa
  • Paul Schmid
  • Alan Silvia
  • Theodore Speliotis
  • Thomas Stanley
  • Jose Tosado
  • Paul Tucker
  • Steven Ultrino
  • Andy Vargas
  • RoseLee Vincent
  • Thomas Walsh
  • Bud Williams
  • Jonathan Zlotnik

Carole King

Jane Fonda

Our Revolution

Sunrise Movement


  • AFSCME Council 93
  • SEIU 32BJ
  • SEIU 888
  • Association of Flight Attendants
  • CWA
  • CWA 1400
  • APFA
  • AFGE
  • Unite Here 26
  • Postal Workers of Central Massachusetts
  • American Postal Workers Union (APWU) of Massachusetts
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Roxana Rivera, President, 32BJ SEIU, Boston

Gloria Steinem

Ken Burns


Democracy for America

Al Gore

Endorsements for Joe Kennedy III

The late Rep. John Lewis

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Joaquin Castro

“Joe Kennedy fights for the rights and dignity of everyone, and he’s dedicated to building a more inclusive country where everyone can achieve their dreams,” Castro said. “On multiple occasions, Joe took action and came to Texas on our southern border to see firsthand the faces of those devastated by the Trump administration’s cruel and inhumane immigration policies. Joe is the kind of strong leader we need in the U.S. Senate.”


Other House Dems

Rep. Mark Pocan
Rep. Raul Grijalva
Rep. David Cicilline
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Rep. Joyce Beatty
Rep. Marc Veasey
Rep. Joaquin Castro
Rep. Juan Vargas
Rep. Filomen Vela
Rep. Linda Sanchez
Rep. Gil Cisneros
Rep. Derek Kilmer
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick
Rep. Annie Kuster
Rep. Conor Lamb
Rep. Stephanie Murphy
Rep. Veronica Escobar
Rep. Norma Torres
Rep. Ruben Gallego
Rep. Adriano Espaillat
Rep. Colin Allred
Rep. Lauren Underwood
Rep. Elissa Slotkin
Rep. Angie Craig
Rep. Pete Aguilar
Rep. Al Green

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley


  • Boston Newspaper Printing Pressmen’s Union
  • Region 9A of the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers (UAW)
  • Massachusetts Laborers, Laborers Local 9, 22, 39, 88, 133, 138, 151, 175, 223, 243, 327, 385, 429, 473, 560, 609, 610, 668, 721, 876, 976, 999, and 1421
  • NAGE, the Machinists Statewide Council, IAM (International Association of Machinists), Machinists Local 100, 318, 447, 1420, 1726, and 264
  • Teamsters Local 25
  • Sprinkler Fitters 550
  • Pipefitters Local 4, 104, 151, and 537
  • Plumbers Local 12
  • IBEW 96, 103, 104, 1505, 223, 455, 326, 2325, 2321, 1499, & 2222
  • UWUA 369
  • Carmen’s Union 589
  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 17
  • IUOE Local 4
  • UFCW Local 791
  • Painters and Allied Trades DC 35
  • Boston Musicians Association Local 9-535
  • Ironworkers Local 7
  • Plymouth/Bristol County Regional Labor Council
  • Norfolk County Regional Labor Council
  • North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Eastern Millwrights Regional Council
  • Professional Fire Fighters for Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Building Trades Council


  • Salem: Kim Driscoll
  • Newton: Ruthanne Fuller
  • Framingham: Yvonne Spicer
  • Peabody: Ted Bettencourt
  • Lowell: John Leahy

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins

State Reps. Chynah Tyler, Jon Santiago, Jeff Roy

State Sen. Eric Lesser

Other State Senators

Adam Hinds
Paul Feeney
Diana DiZoglio
Joe Boncore
Mark Montigny

Former City Councilor Tito Jackson

Boston Activist Monica Cannon-Grant

“I think oftentimes we have people advocate for us but they never want to talk to us,” said Monica Cannon-Grant. “They talk about our community but they don’t come visit and actually get to know the people and see what the real disparities are. One of the things I appreciated about Joe was that he was honest about the parts he was unaware about, and he was willing and open to learn. He was willing to listen to the people who are actually doing the work. With Joe, one of the things I appreciated the most was that he went on a tour of just listening. It was a listening tour.”


Former Governor Bill Weld

Merrow Manufacturing CEO Charlie Merrow

Civil Rights Icon Dolores Huerta