Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey handily fended off a primary challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy on Tuesday, marking the first statewide race the Kennedy family has lost, CNN reports.
Markey, a longtime progressive who has served in Congress for nearly 50 years, defeated the 39-year-old congressman 55-44.
"We made it clear that we'd rather lose fighting as hard as we could for what we believe in than in finding the middle ground," Markey said after the victory. "The progressive movement knows how to fight. We will not surrender."
Kennedy, whose great-uncles include former President John F. Kennedy and longtime Sen. Ed Kennedy, is the first member of the family to lose a statewide race in Massachusetts.
Kennedy’s campaign fell apart:
Kennedy led early in the race in the polls and drew support from the likes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi but he was repeatedly attacked for challenging a popular senator who bolstered his progressive credentials by co-authoring the Green New Deal with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
"When it comes to progressive leadership, it's not your age that counts, it's the age of your ideas," Ocasio-Cortez said in an ad. "And Ed Markey is the leader that we need."
Markey criticized Kennedy for failing to advance legislation in Congress.
Markey surged well ahead in the polls in the final weeks of the race.
Kennedy also said on Tuesday that his family was "invoked far more often than I anticipated."
Richie Neal fends off progressive challenger:
While Markey led the progressive victory on Tuesday, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse fell short in his bid to unseat Rep. Richie Neal, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Neal defeated Morse 59-41.
The victory came after Morse, who is gay, faced a smear attempt from members of the state’s College Democrats who reportedly sought to curry favor with Neal.
Neal has been in Congress since 1989 and was heavily criticized for taking millions in donations from corporate PACs.