As Mass. Senate Primary Nears, Kennedy Campaign Decries Cyberbullying

Rep. Joe Kennedy's campaign manager claims Sen. Ed Markey's campaign "responded with silence, ridicule and thinly veiled efforts to actually insight further attacks," though Markey and his team deny it

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Campaigning in Roxbury with Texas Congressman Al Green, Rep. Joe Kennedy’s interactions are upbeat.

But behind the scenes, the Kennedy campaign is angry about what it sees as a form of cyberbullying by Markey supporters. 

In a letter to Markey campaign manager John Walsh, Kennedy campaign manager Nick Clemons describes “dangerous levels” of negativity including death threats.

"Your campaign has responded with silence, ridicule and thinly veiled efforts to actually insight further attacks," Clemons said.

Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Joe Kennedy III weighed in Sunday on the controversy surrounding the United States Postal Service, one day before Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is expected to face tough questions from a congressional committee about his agency's recent decisions.

Walsh tweeted back his response, saying in part: “I am disappointed that as someone I have known for years you are choosing to end this campaign with crocodile tears.”

Walsh says Markey has put up with nonstop Kennedy-supported harassment, including a truck blaring a negative message at Markey events.

At a get-out-the-vote event in Revere Monday, Markey said his campaign has no connection to the online attacks the Kennedy campaign brought up and that the campaign knows it.

“I have condemned these vile online comments in the course of this campaign and I will continue to do so,” Markey said.

With two progressive candidates sharing similar positions on most major issues - voters may look to other aspects of this race to make a decision.

Kennedy said he appreciates those comments, though has not personally seen that from Markey.

Kennedy said he knows attacks are common in tight campaigns but the ones against his family and friends, including mentions of Kennedy assassinations have gone too far.

“I have never seen a Democratic senator turn a blind eye for months on end to the type of vitriol and targeting that we are getting,” Kennedy said.

UMass Boston Professor Erin O’Brien said the campaign is “getting really, really ugly" and that “the Kennedy campaign feels like they’re behind, or at least they’re acting like they’re behind.”  

The Markey campaign is correct to say all campaigns get attacked, she sad, adding, “Can you push back a little bit harder when there’s such vitriol in politics? Yes, you can.”

Most agree this race now comes down to who can get their supporters, by mail or in person, to vote.

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