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 SteyerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE on Monday threw his support behind Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday The Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Mass.) in the incumbent's Senate primary race against challenger Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary 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 LynchThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary House GOP lawmakers defy new mask requirement 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 SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads George Floyd and the upcoming Texas Democratic Senate runoff Energy companies cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline MORE (D-W.Va.) as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGoya CEO dismisses critics for praise of Trump: 'I'm not apologizing' Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs MORE (D-N.Y.), co-author of the Green New Deal.

Kennedy has also scored a number of endorsements, including Mark PocanMark William PocanThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: DC's Bowser says protesters and nation were 'assaulted' in front of Lafayette Square last month; Brazil's Bolsonaro, noted virus skeptic, tests positive for COVID-19 Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Wis.), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, and Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroSteyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Hispanic Caucus formally endorses George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Technical difficulties mar several remote House hearings MORE (D-Texas).

Updated at 2:59 p.m.