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Grassroots progressive group endorses Markey in contested Senate primary

Grassroots progressive group endorses Markey in contested Senate primary
© Stefani Reynolds

Progressive grassroots group Democracy for America officially threw its support behind incumbent Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyACLU sues DHS for records on purchased cell phone data to track immigrants DHS watchdog to probe agency's tracking of Americans' phone data without a warrant Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE (D-Mass.) on Thursday as his primary race against 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.) heats up. 

“Sen. Markey might not be the youngest candidate in this race or come from its most famous family, but Sen. Markey knows how to look ahead, lead the way, and fight for our shared progressive values — and that’s why we’re honored to fight for him in this primary," the group's CEO Yvette Simpson said in a statement. 

“The son of a milkman, Sen. Markey was born into a working-class family that taught him that real progressive leaders can’t be identified by the last name they were born with, but by the people they fight for, the bold stands they take, and the battles they wage," Simpson said, appearing to reference Kennedy, a member of the famous American political family. 

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Sparks have flown between the progressive candidates in recent weeks, with Markey repeatedly invoking Kennedy's lineage on the campaign trail. 

The senator's campaign released an ad last week touting his own record and using a famous quote from Kennedy's great uncle, former President John F. Kennedy. 

“We asked what we could do for our country. We went out, we did it,” Markey said in the ad, referencing President Kennedy’s quote. “With all due respect it's time to start asking what your country can do for you.”

Kennedy hit back on Monday, accusing Markey of "weaponizing" his family. 

"I am a 39-year-old white man of tremendous privilege. My own work on racial justice is wholly incomplete," Kennedy said. "But this fight is in my blood. It’s what my family taught me is right, what my faith teaches me is just, and what the country that I believe in was founded to be. However imperfectly."

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The Massachusetts Democratic primary election will be held on Sept. 1. It has split Democrats and progressives. 

Markey has scored endorsements from the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHarry Styles hits back at criticism over wearing dress on Vogue cover 'It's not a slogan': Progressives push back on Obama's comments on 'defund the police' movement Obama says Democrats should make sure Ocasio-Cortez has a platform MORE (D-N.Y.) and progressive New York congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman. Bowman defeated House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair Top donor allegedly sold access to key politicians for millions in foreign cash: report Meet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House MORE (D-N.Y.) in the state's June primary. 

Kennedy, on the other hand, has gained the backing of of progressive lawmakers including Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) and the late John Lewis (D-Ga.).

The Real Clear Politics polling average shows the race tied at 44.8 percent.