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Ed Markey launches first TV ad

Edward J. Markey.J. Scott Applewhite

Senator Edward J. Markey is up with his first television ad in his reelection fight against Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, who is challenging him in the Sept. 1 Democratic primary.

The Markey campaign did not disclose how long it plans to run the ad or how much in total would be spent on it. A campaign spokesman said the initial buy is $345,000 for five days.

The 30-second spot, which begins airing Thursday, will run on both broadcast and cable TV in all the media markets that cover the state, the campaign said. Typically, once a campaign goes on TV, it will stay there until Election Day.


Titled “Streets,” Markey’s ad opens with the metallic grate of train wheels on tracks, an overhead shot of the T’s Orange line, and the words “Malden” on the screen, before Markey shows up next to a passing train.

“This is where I’m from,” Markey says, as the camera shows his Nike high tops — made semi-famous by Twitter — walking down the sidewalk of his hometown, Malden.

The peppy ad emphasizes Markey’s blue-collar Malden roots (”My father was a milkman. I drove an ice cream truck to pay for college”), an implicit contrast with Kennedy’s storied political family and wealthy upbringing. The spot also highlights the senator’s progressive credentials.

He learned in Malden that he shouldn’t be “scared of the tough fights,” Markey says in the ad, which is why he was an original co-sponsor of Medicare for All and “wrote the Green New Deal to fight climate change,” the ambitious but nonbinding resolution he authored with progressive sensation Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. (The icon of the left, whose image appears in the ad, also happens to be one of Markey’s most high-profile endorsements.)

Markey’s ad is hitting the airwaves just as Massachusetts voters are getting applications for mail-in ballots for both the Sept. 1 primary and the November general election.


Kennedy, meanwhile, has been up on TV since early May, and has spent roughly $2.4 million on the airwaves through the end of June. His campaign went up with a new ad this week.

The race has been bereft of recent public polling.

Victoria McGrane can be reached at Follow her @vgmac.