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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 SteyerTop 12 political donors accounted for almost 1 of every 13 dollars raised since 2009: study California Democrats weigh their recall options Why we should be leery of companies entering political fray MORE on Monday threw his support behind Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden risks break with progressives on infrastructure Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth celebration in Wisconsin Black lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory MORE (D-Mass.) in the incumbent's Senate primary race against challenger Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedySupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Warren says she'll run for reelection to Senate Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote 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."

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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: Ex-Pentagon chief defends Capitol attack response as GOP downplays violence | Austin, Biden confer with Israeli counterparts amid conflict with Hamas | Lawmakers press Pentagon officials on visas for Afghan partners GOP downplays Jan. 6 violence: Like a 'normal tourist visit' GOP's Gosar defends Jan. 6 rioter, says she was 'executed' 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.

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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 SchumerWhite House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill Harris to preside over Senate for voting rights debate MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster Biden says push to advance elections overhaul 'far from over' Pelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee MORE (D-W.Va.) as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez says she ranked Wiley first, Stringer second in NYC mayoral vote Five things to watch in the NYC mayor's race primary Heatwaves don't lie: Telling the truth about climate change MORE (D-N.Y.), co-author of the Green New Deal.

Kennedy has also scored a number of endorsements, including Mark PocanMark William PocanThe Memo: The pre-Trump 'normal' is gone for good Overnight Defense: Pentagon pitches 5B budget | Kamala Harris addresses US Naval Academy graduates Pentagon pitches 5B budget with cuts to older weapons MORE (D-Wis.), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, and Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroTexas walkout sets up epic battle over voting rights Democrats call on Blinken to set new sexual misconduct policies at State Department USAID 'redirects' El Salvador funds from government to civil society MORE (D-Texas).

Updated at 2:59 p.m.