As Rep. Joe Kennedy III prepared for the formal launch of his primary campaign for Senate, the incumbent spoke to him on the phone.
Kennedy will announce his bid for Ed Markey's Senate seat Saturday in East Boston, according to sources.
"I said to him, 'Welcome to the campaign trail,'" Markey recalled Thursday. "You know, 'Looking forward to this debate over the next year.'"
Markey, 73, has served in the Senate since 2013 — the same year 38-year-old Kennedy began to represent Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District.
As the two men's policies are similar, generational change has been a focal point in the prospective race. While Markey is older, he has received the endorsement of the House's youngest representative.
"Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, today, said that I am the generational change that America needs. I fight for the issues that need to be fought," Markey said.
Those issues include climate change, health care, gun reform and immigration.
"This is the most energized I have ever been in my career," Markey said. "I get up every day to fight Donald Trump, to fight his policies, which are harmful to every family in our country."
Kennedy said last month that he was eyeing the Senate seat, but that he had not made a final decision.
"I'm thinking about what I have to offer Massachusetts voters, what is most important in this political moment, and what kind of party Democrats need to be building for the future," he said in a Facebook post on Aug. 26.
Soon after, Kennedy elaborated on why he was considering the primary run.
"Sen. Markey is a good man," he said in Newton last month. "I think I've got new ideas and a new approach, and if I get into this race, that's what this race will be about."
Massachusetts' other U.S. Senator, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, has spoken highly of both men.
"I endorsed Sen. Markey back in February. I couldn't ask for a better partner in the Senate than Ed Markey. He is a good friend," she said. "Joe Kennedy is also a good friend. I have worked with him since he was a student of mine; both he and his wife were my students. I have worked with him as a congressman. I have nothing but the highest respect for him."
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The Kennedy family is one of the most prominent political dynasties in the U.S. — the representative's grandfather, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination when he was assassinated, and his great uncle, John F. Kennedy, served in the Senate before being elected president. It has been 10 years since a Kennedy served in the Senate — Ted Kennedy, another great uncle of Joe Kennedy III, died in 2009.