Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary

Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary
© Greg Nash

Environmental activist and former Democratic presidential contender Tom SteyerTom SteyerLate donor surges push election spending projections to new heights New voters surge to the polls Trump leads Biden in Texas by 4 points: poll MORE on Monday threw his support behind Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally UK moves up deadline to ban sales of new gasoline and diesel vehicles MORE (D-Mass.) in the incumbent's Senate primary race against challenger Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyConor Lamb defeats Trump-backed challenger for reelection in Pennsylvania Van Drew fends off challenge from Kennedy after party switch Markey wins reelection in Massachusetts MORE III (D-Mass.).

"For the last several decades, Ed’s been leading the fight in Congress to tackle our climate crisis while too many politicians on both sides of the aisle have sat on the sidelines," Steyer said in a statement first released to The Hill.

Steyer went on to say Markey is needed in the Senate to "combat climate injustice and create clean energy jobs."


Markey, a co-author of the Green New Deal legislation, praised Steyer's endorsement, calling him "one of the most influential voices" in the fight against climate change.

"He has organized Americans around the country to help position climate action and clean energy as top voting issues in this election, and his support of this movement is invaluable," Markey said.

The endorsement comes seven years after the Massachusetts senator denounced Steyer's involvement in his first Senate bid, in 2013. Markey's campaign argued at the time that Steyer's plan to spend a significant amount of money in the primary to defeat Markey's then-opponent, Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Top general negative for coronavirus, Pentagon chief to get tested after Trump result l Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers MORE (D-Mass.), would violate Markey's commitment to the People's Pledge, which prevented him from accepting outside advertising. Steyer said he was backing Markey because of Lynch's support for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The People's Pledge has become an issue in 2020, with Kennedy pushing Markey to again sign it. Markey has refused to sign on, instead calling for a compromise in which outside groups would keep their messaging positive and make their donors public.

Kennedy rejected outside super PAC help earlier this month and called on Markey to take the same stance.


Kennedy responded to Steyer's endorsement on Monday by highlighting his own opposition to super PACs and calling on Markey to sign the People's Pledge.

“I have made it clear that I want to run this race without Super PACs, without dark money, and focused solely on the issues and on the merits of our candidacies,” Kennedy said in a statement. “That’s why, so far, I have rejected Super PAC money on my behalf. From day one of the campaign, I have asked Senator Markey to sign the same pledge he signed seven years earlier. But Senator Markey –– a so-called progressive champion –– has refused and already allowed dark money to infiltrate this race."

Steyer's endorsement on Monday comes as more money pours into the race ahead of the Sept. 1 primary. The Boston Globe first reported that an outside group, Environment Massachusetts, would spend $200,000 on print and digital advertisements in support of Markey.

The battle between the two progressives has divided Democrats on Capitol Hill. Markey has the support of a number of prominent figures including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNew York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn Biden congratulates Pelosi on Speaker nomination Senate Democrats introduce bill to shore up PPE supply MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Dems push McConnell on COVID-19 relief; Grassley contracts COVID-19 MORE (D-W.Va.) as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez defends Harry Styles wearing dress on Vogue cover: 'It looks wonderful' Democrats' squabbling vindicates Biden non-campaign GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' MORE (D-N.Y.), co-author of the Green New Deal.

Kennedy has also scored a number of endorsements, including Mark PocanMark William PocanCapitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election MORE (D-Wis.), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, and Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroProgressive Democrats call on Pompeo to condemn Israeli demolition of Beduin village Dozens of progressive groups endorse Joaquin Castro for Foreign Affairs chair Castro pledges to term limit himself if elected Foreign Affairs chair MORE (D-Texas).

Updated at 2:59 p.m.