Ted Kennedy Jr. to run for Conn. state Senate seat

Edward M. Kennedy Jr. wants to join the family business.

The son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal stalwart who represented Massachusetts for more than four decades, is reportedly seeking a state Senate seat in Connecticut.

Kennedy, 52, of Branford, Conn., plans to formally announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the 12th District state seat on Tuesday, people familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. He did not respond to an e-mail inquiry and a voicemail left at his office on Monday night.

Jim Ball, a state Democratic Party official in the district, expressed enthusiasm for Kennedy’s expected candidacy.


“I think he’s an extraordinary person with a wonderful background,” Ball said by phone. “And I think that he will bring great credibility to elected politics here in Connecticut.”

Ball’s comments were echoed by Scott Ferson, a Democratic strategist and former press secretary for Kennedy’s father.

“I think this is great,” Ferson said. “What would you want in a state senator? Somebody who has knowledge and experience, has worked in causes all his life. . . and is devoted to public service. He’s got all those things.”

But Jerry Labriola Jr., the state Republican Party chairman, criticized Kennedy in a statement.

“Despite the celebrity name, the last thing the voters of the 12th District need is another rubber-stamp vote for more of the same higher taxes and government spending that have held back Connecticut’s economy and left more than half of our families living paycheck to paycheck,” Labriola said.

Kennedy, a health care lawyer, has never held elected office but hails from a storied political clan. He is the nephew of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, the former president and US attorney general, respectively, who were both assassinated. His brother, Patrick J. Kennedy, represented Rhode Island in Congress for 16 years.


In addition, he is the cousin of former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, whose son, Joseph P. Kennedy III, is a Massachusetts congressman.

In 2012, there was speculation that Edward Kennedy would jump into the special election in Massachusetts for a US Senate seat, which was eventually won by Edward J. Markey.

He ultimately chose not to run.

“As a health care lawyer and disability rights activist who was raised to believe in public service, I have always had an interest in public policy development, advocacy, and political action,” Kennedy said in a statement in December 2012 announcing his decision. “Although I have a strong desire to serve in public office, I consider Connecticut to be my home and hope to have the honor to serve at another point in my future.”

In Connecticut, Kennedy is seeking the seat held by Edward Meyer, a five-term Democrat who is retiring.

The district includes the towns of Branford, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, and North Branford.

Officials said Monday no candidates from either party have officially announced their intentions to run for the seat.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.