Published February 28, 2010
BOSTON -- Joseph P. Kennedy III, the son of a former congressman and the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, said Sunday he had decided against running for the U.S. House from Massachusetts this year.
Kennedy told The Associated Press that he wants to remain in his new job as a prosecutor in Cape Cod's Barnstable County. The 29-year-old Stanford University and Harvard Law graduate has held the post only for eight months.
"I've got a job I love being an assistant district attorney on the Cape, and I want to get better at it at this point," Kennedy said. "I know serving in Congress would be a great job, but I've got a great job."
A top state Democrat said Saturday that Kennedy was weighing a race if Rep. William Delahunt were to decide against seeking re-election in the 10th Congressional District, which encompasses the Massachusetts South Shore and Cape Cod.
Delahunt and the rest of the Massachusetts Democratic establishment were rocked in January when Republican Scott Brown staged an upset to win the U.S. Senate seat held for more than four decades by Kennedy's uncle, Edward M. Kennedy. While Kennedy's widow, Vicki, and Joseph P. Kennedy III's father, former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, both eschewed races, they lobbied hard for the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Her loss raised questions about the endurance of the Kennedy legacy. It also inspired several local Republicans, including former state Treasurer Joe Malone and state Rep. Jeffrey Perry of Sandwich, to say they are considering running for Delahunt's seat.
Delahunt has been criticized in recent weeks for his handling of a 1986 shooting by Amy Bishop, a University of Alabama professor accused of killing three colleagues this month. At the time, Delahunt was the local district attorney, and he accepted the findings of local and state police that Bishop's shooting of her brother was accidental.
Norfolk District Attorney William Keating, a Democrat investigating the handling of the 1986 Bishop shooting, is said to be weighing a run if Delahunt decides against seeking re-election, as are several state legislators. A decision from Delahunt is expected by the end of April.
A member of the Kennedy family has served in Washington since 1946, when future President John F. Kennedy won a U.S. House seat. He went on to the U.S. Senate and, after a two-year hiatus when the seat was held by a family friend after Kennedy was elected president, Edward Kennedy won the seat in 1962.
Joseph P. Kennedy II later held JFK's House seat from 1987 to 1999, but he decided against seeking re-election after an aborted run for governor in 1998.
Joseph Kennedy III spent two years in as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic after graduating from Stanford. He and his twin, Matthew, served as co-chairmen of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's final Senate campaign in 2006, and Joseph Kennedy was on the speaking program when Vicki Kennedy endorsed Coakley.
The younger Kennedy has also recently accompanied Delahunt on appearances across the 10th District.
Kennedy told AP, "I certainly thought about it a bit with close friends and family," but he said he felt no special pressure to vindicate the family name.
"Members of my family have said politics is an honorable profession, but there's a lot of ways to serve," said Kennedy, before rattling off his relatives' work as documentary filmmakers, with the Special Olympics and with the Best Buddies program.
"At this moment, I think I've found my way to serve," he said.