May 20th, 2009
08:42 PM ET
14 years ago

Update: A Kennedy expected to seek Obama's Senate seat

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, is taking steps to run for Senate and could announce his candidacy as early as next week, a source close to the Kennedy family told CNN Wednesday.

"He is building an organization and telling family and friends that he is in fact going to be a candidate for the Senate from Illinois," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity this person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

A spokeswoman for Chris Kennedy, an Illinois businessman, would not go as far as to say he is in the race, but acknowledged that he is "seriously considering" a Senate bid.

"He has conducted polling which indicates a strong interest," said Kasey Madden, Kennedy's spokeswoman. "But there is no timeline for a decision or an announcement."

But a second source, an Illinois Democrat also speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CNN that Kennedy's political allies are telling state Democrats that he will indeed seek the Democratic nomination for the seat once held by President Obama.

Sen. Roland Burris, a Democrat and former state attorney general, was appointed to fill Obama's unexpired term by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But Burris never received the backing of state and national Democratic leaders because of his ties to Blagojevich, who has since been impeached.

Should Burris seek to run for his own six-year term next year, he would likely face additional primary opposition as a handful of state and congressional Democratic lawmakers are also said to be eyeing the race.

If elected, Chris Kennedy would follow in the footsteps of his father, Robert, who represented New York in the Senate before being assassinated in

If he were to win the seat, Chris would not be the only Kennedy on Capitol Hill. His cousin is Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island; his uncle is Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.

Another cousin, former President John F. Kennedy's daughter Caroline, unsuccessfully lobbied New York Gov. David Paterson this year to be appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, which she gave up when she joined the Obama administration as Secretary of State. Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration before Paterson chose Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand for the vacancy.

Chris Kennedy's brother, Joe, served as a Massachusetts congressman for several terms before retiring in 1998.

Chris Kennedy is currently the president of Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

Filed under: 2010 • Illinois • Popular Posts • Senate
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. matt

    go get 'em chris!!!

    May 20, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. Flipper

    Great! Another Kennedy who thinks they're entitled to political power.

    May 20, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  3. TCM

    man, what is it with that state? full of criminals? Why not appoint Bill Ayers or Rev Wright??

    May 20, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  4. Joe Nash

    Can't these folks just go away? Enough of these folks to be honest. Why we in American continue vote for multiple Bush's, Clinton's, Kennedy's, Carnahan's and others I don't know. .

    Let's elect a king and have these folks be the Princes and Princesses of our new world order. I guess we get what we deserve.

    May 20, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  5. Donna

    I'm glad to see more of this generation of Kennedys seek public office. I hope Chris upholds the ideals of his father and uncles.

    May 20, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  6. Thought Criminal

    The senate shouldn't be a family business. The number of Kennedys in or attempting to get in the senate is scary... almost as scary as a one party federal government... of course no one paid attention to that last fall and I doubt anyone will listen in 2010.

    May 20, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. bentley

    we are sick and tired of the Kennnedy's.......its time for change.remember???

    May 20, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  8. Howard

    Great, another totally unqualified Kennedy running for office based on his last name. When will voters ever get over the Camelot B.S.

    May 21, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |

    Wish Chris Kennedy success if he officially enters the race....

    May 21, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  10. Dimslie

    Just when you thought Illinois politics couldn't sink any lower.

    May 21, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  11. Nick

    "If elected, Chris Kennedy would follow in the footsteps of his father, Robert, who represented New York in the Senate before being assassinated in 1968."

    Kinda awkward wording there, CNN. Should have separated the two thoughts.

    May 21, 2009 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  12. Jomon

    I'm totally agree with Powell. Rush Linboald is more toward him self interest only and we Republican don't need a leader like that. We want a uniter not a divider. Rush and Chenney need to go hunt together only. They can not represent us. We need leader ship like Powell to lead, not Cheney or Rush. Neither of them belong to our Republican Party. They just need hunting license.

    May 21, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  13. Lexy

    Is there any way we can put an end to this Kennedy dynasty? I'm sick of the whole lot of them.

    May 21, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  14. Sidney Jacobs

    Oh for God's sake. Enough already with this Kennedy bunch.
    Move over, your days are part of the past not the future.

    May 21, 2009 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  15. Michael in Ventura,CA


    May 21, 2009 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  16. Alan

    We know that he is fully qualified because his name is Kennedy.

    May 21, 2009 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  17. Gwats

    Interesting and amazing indeed, John F.Kennedy's legacy
    moving on. It will be interesting to watch.

    May 21, 2009 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
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