Kennedy mulling run for U.S. Senate seat

May 21, 2009 10:04:33 AM PDT
A Kennedy may run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. Chris Kennedy is reportedly considering adding his name to the long list of possible candidates.The speculation began weeks ago. Then, overnight, this has become a national story, that another heir to Kennedy legacy aspires to public office ABC News is among several media reporting that Chicago's Christopher Kennedy will run next year to become to Illinois' junior United States senator.

Forty-five-year-old Christopher Kennedy keeps a relatively low profile for someone considering a run for the U.S. Senate. Earlier this month, May 5, ABC7 interviewed the Chicago businessman during a rare public appearance, at the opening of this year's Special Olympics.

"I'm thinking about it. It's a very personal decision and I'm trying to work through that with my family," Kennedy said.

Kennedy is the son of New York Senator Robert, assassinated in 1968, and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who met the same fate five years earlier. Another uncle, Ted, still serves in the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was asked if he thought the Kennedy name would have any political magic in Illinois.

"Sure it does. You better believe it. Yes, it does," said Daley.

The field of possible Democrat candidates is growing. First, the controversial appointed incumbent Roland Burris, who reportedly is having trouble raising money. Then there is Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has formed an exploratory committee, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who has promised a decision before the end of the month.

Senator Burris's political adviser Delmarie Cobb is not impressed by Chris Kennedy's possible entry into the race.

"He hasn't been that involved in terms of any public policy or out front on any issues, so he would have to begin from scratch," Cobb said.

The Northwestern Kellogg School of Business graduate is president of Chicago's Merchandise Mart. He moved to the city in 1987 and told ABC7 that the ability to keep his family in Chicago would be a major factor in a decision to enter public life.

"I want my family to be able to continue to live and work in Illinois... I do my part at the Mart now and maybe there's other places that I could be helpful as well," Kennedy said.

The Washington Post reported earlier this year that the family decision spoken of by Chris Kennedy will actually be made after conferring with extended family around the country. The Washington Post reported earlier this year that, with Senator Ted Kennedy elderly and in poor health, there is a legacy issue.

Charles has more on the political beat in his Precinct 7 Blog.


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