Shriver's Loss Suggests Kennedy Dynasty Fades; Still, Liberal Followers Say the Younger Generation Can Look Forward to Having a Role in politics.(PAGE ONE)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 15, 2002 | Go to article overview

Shriver's Loss Suggests Kennedy Dynasty Fades; Still, Liberal Followers Say the Younger Generation Can Look Forward to Having a Role in politics.(PAGE ONE)


Byline: Dave Boyer, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Kennedy family dynasty, so consistently victorious in the past 50 years that it has become virtually the liberal brand name of politics, may have entered the autumn of its discontent.

In a defeat that startled analysts, Kennedy relative Mark K. Shriver lost the Democratic primary last week in Maryland's 8th Congressional District. A Kennedy had not tasted defeat at the polls since 1986, when Kathleen Kennedy Townsend lost her bid for the U.S. House in Maryland.

Mrs. Townsend, Maryland's personable lieutenant governor, is herself in a tougher-than-expected campaign for governor this fall, amid criticism in her own party that she has frittered away a 15-point lead in a race that is hers to lose.And Andrew Cuomo, who inherited his own political lineage but married into the Kennedy family, dropped out of the Democratic primary in the New York governor's race earlier this month when polls showed he was headed for a lopsided loss.

Some analysts are wondering whether the latest generation of Kennedys has lost the family's aura of invincibility.

"Obviously, it's no longer enough in this world to show up and announce that you're a Kennedy," said Mike McKenna, a Republican pollster at Andres McKenna Research in the District. "Shriver got beat on the ground, which is where the Kennedys never get beat."

An aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said the Massachusetts Democrat was "very disappointed" in Mr. Shriver's loss because Mr. Kennedy believes his nephew has a promising political future.

In a statement, Mr. Kennedy said he is "very proud of Mark for his impressive campaign and for all the work he has done to fight for working families in Maryland."

"Mark has a bright and limitless future in public service, and I know that he will continue to fight for the issues that he championed during the campaign and to make a positive difference in our society," said Mr. Kennedy, in his 40th year in the Senate.

As for any waning of Kennedy power, the senator's aide said, "The dynasty is individual by individual. You can't really tie it to any type of pattern."

Mr. Kennedy's son, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, is running for re-election this year, and analysts say he is likely to keep his seat. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, campaigned for the younger Mr. …

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