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Senator Edward J. Markey has progressive icon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in his corner as he enters the reelection fight of his life.

The longtime establishment figure Ocasio-Cortez unseated in her 2018 primary upset? Well, he is backing Markey’s most formidable opponent, Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III.

Former congressman Joe Crowley of New York is listed as a host on an invitation for an Oct. 15 “DC Kickoff” fund-raiser for Kennedy’s Senate campaign, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe.

“Joe is grateful for all the support he is receiving from voters, friends, colleagues, and others in the early days of this campaign,” Kennedy campaign spokeswoman Emily Kaufman said in response to an inquiry about the event from the Globe.


According to the invitation, hosts for the fund-raiser are asked to give $5,600 to Kennedy’s campaign — the maximum amount an individual can give for the primary and general election, combined. The invitation asks “co-hosts” to pony up $2,800, “supporters” to give $1,000; and “friends” to contribute $500.

Crowley and Kennedy struck up a close personal friendship since Kennedy’s early days in the House in 2013. Still, the former congressman’s support for Kennedy’s Senate bid is sure to draw notice because of the Ocasio-Cortez connection. The freshman congresswoman from New York endorsed Markey and has partnered with him on the Green New Deal, a plan to restructure the economy and combat climate change.

She toppled Crowley in a surprise victory after running to his left, a conquest that revealed and fueled the Democratic base’s growing dissatisfaction with incumbents — a persistent wave that, in the jumbled logic of the Massachusetts Senate primary, helped make Markey vulnerable to a primary challenge in the first place.

Her support bolsters Markey’s progressive bona fides and associates him with the cutting-edge of the progressive wing of the party, despite his more than four decades in Congress.


The intraparty drama isn’t as intense as it may seem, a person close to Kennedy suggests. Kennedy and Ocasio-Cortez had a cordial one-on-one meeting shortly before she endorsed Markey, the person said.

The fund-raiser was organized by Tracy Spicer, a longtime aide to Kennedy’s great-uncle, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Spicer is now a lobbyist and founding partner of the all-female, all-Democratic firm Avenue Solutions.

The invitation lists a healthy crop of former staffers to the late Kennedy, an early indication of how the younger Kennedy can tap his family’s still-vibrant network in Washington and beyond as he mounts his primary challenge.

Former (Ted) Kennedy staffers listed on the invitation include Stephanie Cutter, who went on to serve in the Obama administration and as deputy campaign manager for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, among other roles; David Bowen, who served as staff director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions when the elder Kennedy was its chairman, and played a major role in drafting and steering the Affordable Care Act through the Senate; and Tom Lopach, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who is currently working on Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s presidential campaign.

Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.