Politics

Phoenix Rising: Can the Kennedy Legacy Be Reborn?
With last year's death of Ted Kennedy and the announcement this week that his son Patrick, a congressman in Rhode Island, is bowing out of politics, next year could mark the first time in 63 years that no Kennedy is holding elected office in Washington. But before there's a postmortem on the Kennedy era in national politics, there are a few family members left who could mount a bid to revive the Camelot legacy.

Edward M. Kennedy Jr.

Ted Kennedy Jr., 48, is the second child of Ted Kennedy and Virginia Bennett. The New York-based businessman lost a leg from cancer at the age of 13, and has focused some of his energies on disability issues.

A graduate of Yale, Kennedy reportedly briefly eyed a Connecticut congressional seat despite never holding elected office. A chance to revive his family's political legacy may prove too attractive for him to resist.

Kennedy Power Rating: None

Reuters

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy, 52, is the daughter of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Kennedy, who works as a fundraiser and serves on the boards of several nonprofits in New York, signaled her interest in being appointed to Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat in 2008, but withdrew shortly following a difficult month of canvassing New York politicians and press.

Despite her stumble, the experience paves the way for a smoother bid next time -- if there is a next time. 

Kennedy Power Rating: Major

Reuters

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 56, is the third child of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel.

Kennedy is chief attorney for Riverkeeper, a New York-based ecological organization that monitors water quality, and a radio host on the liberal network Air America. Despite never holding political office, Kennedy had reportedly considered running for Senate in New York. His family's looming exit from the political stage may compel him to reconsider. 

Kennedy Power Rating: Moderate

AP

Maria Shriver

Maria Shriver, first lady of California, is the oldest daughter of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver.

A former television journalist, the 54-year-old has thoroughly engaged her role the wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, tackling women's issues and poverty. But just days after Schwarzenegger endorsed Republican nominee John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, Shriver broke with her husband and announced her support for Barack Obama.

That streak of independence could prove to be a political asset if she decides to launch a bid for elected office. 

Kennedy Power Rating: Potential Major

Reuters

Chris Kennedy

The president of Merchandise Mart Properties, Christopher George Kennedy, 46, is the eighth child of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel.

A graduate of Boston College, the Chicago-based businessman who has never held elected office, had briefly considered running for Barack Obama's former Senate seat in Illinois. With Democrats' political fortunes in decline and his family's political dynasty facing extinction, this Kennedy may rise to the occasion if another opportunity opens.

Kennedy Power Rating: Slight/Developing

Phoenix Rising: Can the Kennedy Legacy Be Reborn?

With last year's death of Ted Kennedy and the announcement this week that his son Patrick, a congressman in Rhode Island, is bowing out of politics, next year could mark the first time in 63 years that no Kennedy is holding elected office in Washington. But before there's a postmortem on the Kennedy era in national politics, there are a few family members left who could mount a bid to revive the Camelot legacy.

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