Nearly one year after Edward M. Kennedy's death, prominent Democrats in Washington and Massachusetts are promoting his widow as the party's best shot at winning back the Senate seat he held for nearly five decades.
Though she has seemed to bat down the idea of challenging Sen. Scott Brown (R) in 2012, Victoria Reggie Kennedy has been in some ways acting the part of a candidate. She has raised her public profile by campaigning for other politicians and appearing at events across the country.
The prospect of her candidacy is fast becoming a source of family tension, according to several Kennedy intimates. Some relatives fear that a campaign against Brown -- a popular figure even in liberal Massachusetts -- would distract Kennedy from promoting her late husband's legacy, they said.
Vicki Kennedy, a lawyer from a powerful political family in Louisiana who married into the Kennedy dynasty in 1992, declined to be interviewed for this article. She passed up the chance to run for the seat last year, and several confidants said she has told them that she has no plans to run this time.
But some party leaders have been quietly promoting her as their preferred candidate. They believe her stature and the goodwill she earned after her husband's death on Aug. 25 put her in a uniquely strong position. ...
Gerry Harrington, a Kennedy family friend and Washington consultant with ties to Boston, said he thinks it will take a "Herculean effort" to defeat Brown. "I would think it would take a Kennedy to beat him," Harrington said. "Logic would dictate Vicki would be it."
She is not the only family member viewed as a potential candidate. Former Massachusetts congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, a son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, had considered running for the seat; family friends said he has all but ruled it out, however, in part because of Brown's popularity and the money required to run a competitive race. The same goes for his son Joseph P. Kennedy III, who is viewed as a political up-and-comer in the family.
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Comment: As if the seat from Massachusetts is the exclusive property of the Kennedy Family rather than the State of Massachusetts.