POLITICS

Clan is a Political Animal: The Kennedy Contenders

With the death late Tuesday night of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the old guard of leaders in the storied clan has finally passed after decades in the limelight. But the family has given birth to a troop of younger politicians, who may now be vying for prominence on a national stage and working to fill the void left by Ted Kennedy's passing.

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick J. Kennedy assumed office as a member of the U.S. House in 1995 when he was 28 years old. The son of Ted Kennedy and Virginia Bennett, Patrick Kennedy first held office as a state representative in Rhode Island when he was just 21 years old.

The 42-year-old entered a drug rehabilitation program in June, and his battle with addiction has long been in the public eye. Kennedy entered the Mayo Clinic in 2006 and has been suspected of driving under the influence and causing multiple car crashes.

Kennedy Power Rating: Major

AP

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy, 51, 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 December, but withdrew in January following a difficult month of canvassing New York politicians and press.

Kennedy Power Rating: Major

Reuters

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 55, 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. Kennedy has reportedly considered running for Senate in New York but has never held political office.

Kennedy Power Rating: Moderate

AP

Edward M. Kennedy Jr.

Ted Kennedy Jr., 47, 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 but has never held elected office.

Kennedy Power Rating: None

Reuters

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, 58, was the lieutenant governor of Maryland for eight years, from 1995-2003.

The oldest of Robert F. Kennedy's 11 children, Townsend ran for governor but lost her 2002 election campaign to Robert Ehrlich, the first such victory for a Republican in the state in over 30 years. Since the defeat, she has not sought elected office, and sits on several corporate boards.

Kennedy Power Rating: Major

AP

Maria Shriver

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

A former television journalist, the 43-year-old has thoroughly engaged her role the wife of California Governor 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.

Kennedy Power Rating: Potential Major

Reuters

Joseph Kennedy II

Joseph P. Kennedy II, the oldest son of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel, served in the U.S. House for 12 years in the seat once held by his uncle, John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy left politics following a messy divorce and annulment from his first wife, but has been suggested as a possible replacement for his uncle Ted in the U.S. Senate.

Kennedy Power Rating: Dormant/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 had briefly considered running for Barack Obama's former Senate seat in Illinois, but has still never held elected office.

Kennedy Power Rating: Slight/Developing

Mark Shriver

A former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Mark Shriver, 45, is currently a vice president of Save the Children.

The fourth child of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, he ran for the House of Representatives in 2002, but like his sister lost his race that year.

Kennedy Power Rating: Dormant/Major

AP

Kara Kennedy

The oldest child of Ted Kennedy and Virginia Bennett, Kara Kennedy is a producer for an arts program called Very Special Arts.

Kennedy accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama on behalf of her father at a White House ceremony in August.

Kennedy Power Rating: None

AP

Bobby Shriver

Robert Sargent Shriver III, 55, is the oldest child of Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy. A Democratic member of the Santa Monica City Council, Shriver was preparing to run for the California attorney general's office in 2010, but announced his decision to decline the run this year.

"I have decided that 2010 is not the year for me to seek this incredible statewide office," he told reporters in April, citing the recent birth of a daughter and his ailing mother, who died in August.

Kennedy Power Rating: Slight

Reuters

Anthony 'Tony' Kennedy

Anthony Shriver, 44, is the youngest child of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver.

A graduate of Georgetown University, Kennedy in 1989 founded Best Buddies International, a program that gives aid to the mentally disabled. Kennedy lives in Miami with his wife and five children.

Kennedy Power Rating: Slight

AP

Timothy Shriver

Timothy Shriver, 49, is chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, an organization founded by his mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver. He is the third child of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver.

A graduate of Yale University, Shriver currently resides in Maryland with his wife and five children, and is active in programs supporting the mentally challenged.

Kennedy Power Rating: Slight

AP

Kerry Kennedy

The seventh child of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel, Mary Kerry Kennedy is a human rights activist who serves on the board of the Institute of Peace and is a founder of the RFK Center for Human Rights.

Once married to former Clinton official and current New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo, the 49-year-old is herself a lawyer, a member of both the New York and D.C. bars.

Kennedy Power Rating: Slight

Eric Silva

Douglas Kennedy

A general assignment reported for FOX News, Douglas Harriman Kennedy is the tenth child of Robert Kennedy and Ethel Skakel.

A graduate of Brown University, the 42-year-old has covered the past three presidential elections for FOX News and previously worked as a crime reporter for the New York Post.

Kennedy Power Rating: None

Reuters

Clan is a Political Animal: The Kennedy Contenders

With the death late Tuesday night of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the old guard of leaders in the storied clan has finally passed after decades in the limelight. But the family has given birth to a troop of younger politicians, who may now be vying for prominence on a national stage and working to fill the void left by Ted Kennedy's passing.

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