If you’ve tuned in to any of the four debates in the Democratic Senate primary, you’ll have noticed that incumbent Senator Edward J. Markey can’t go long without mentioning progressive icon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young congresswoman from New York with whom he authored the Green New Deal climate change plan.
Now she’s the star of his latest TV ad.
Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Markey in his reelection fight against Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III in September, narrates the entire 30-second spot, describing the 74-year-old Markey as the progressive “champion” that America needs to solve the problems of “systemic injustice and inequality.” As she speaks, images of Black Lives Matter protests and scenes from the coronavirus pandemic flash on the screen.
Ocasio-Cortez notes that Markey was an original cosponsor of Medicare For All and wrote the Green New Deal with her, which has become the signature legislative issue for both lawmakers.
“When it comes to progressive leadership, it’s not your age that counts,” Ocasio-Cortez says, addressing the camera directly. “It’s the age of your ideas. And Ed Markey is the leader that we need.”
The involvement of Ocasio-Cortez — widely known just as AOC — in the race has scrambled what otherwise might be a strong argument for generational change by the 39-year-old Kennedy, considering Markey has been in Congress since 1976. Markey’s new ad further muddies that narrative for Kennedy.
The Markey campaign said in a news release that the AOC ad “will be a central part” of the campaign’s TV strategy, playing on broadcast and cable in all Massachusetts media markets. A campaign spokesman said their total TV buy for the next week is more than $476,000.
Kennedy also released a new 30-second spot Thursday, focused on health care and continuing a theme that new leadership is needed to solve pressing problems.
“While Trump and Republicans tried to kill Obamacare in the House, I led the fight to defend it to make health care available and affordable for all and to protect people with preexisting conditions from losing their coverage,” Kennedy says in the ad. “With every American’s health now threatened by coronavirus, in the Senate and on the front lines, I’ll lead the fight for Medicare For All.”
He closes by saying Americans have “waited long enough” to have universal access to health care. Kennedy has argued that Markey has had plenty of time to deliver but has failed to do so.