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Ted Kennedy Jr. not running for governor in Conn.

Ted Kennedy Jr. and his mom, Joan, arrived last month at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
Ted Kennedy Jr. and his mom, Joan, arrived last month at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Steven Senne/Associated Press/File

The son of Edward Kennedy, the longtime US senator for Massachusetts, said he will not run for the open Connecticut governor’s seat next year, ending months of speculation. The decision offers further evidence that a large-scale reemergence of the Kennedy name is not imminent.

State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. issued a statement Monday that said he was “deeply grateful to everyone who has contacted me and encouraged me to run.” He suggested he would instead seek reelection to his seat in the Connecticut state Senate which he’s held since 2014.

Had he gone on to become governor, Kennedy would have likely emerged as a national figure in Democratic circles, albeit a bit late in his career. With his name and his ability to raise money he may even have been rumored to be a presidential candidate in 2020 or later.


It is unclear why Kennedy decided not to run. Two months after Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy announced he would not seek reelection, the field of candidates, from either party, is far from settled.

A few years ago it was well known in local political circles that Kennedy had his eye on the governor’s seat. Since then, it has become a less-desirable position. The state has became embroiled in a budget crisis, which will only get worse as more state employee pensions become due and major businesses like General Electric and Aetna leave.

Now the field is left wide open. There are five Democrats and eight Republicans looking at the seat. But none are major names. Malloy’s lieutenant governor, Nancy Wyman, is expected to soon make a decision on whether she will run for governor.

Had Kennedy run, he would have been the second family member to run for governor next year. Chris Kennedy, the son of Robert Kennedy, is currently campaigning for governor in Illinois, though he is reportedly being outpaced in the Democratic primary. The Massachusetts Fourth congressional district, of course, is represented by Joe Kennedy III.


James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell. Click here to subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics.