May 20th, 2009
08:42 PM ET
13 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. Glennis

    Great. Just what we need. Another useless Kennedy.

    May 20, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Meh...I'm not a fan of the appearance of nepotism. However, if the GOP is smart...and it's decidedly NOT evidencing that right will NOT take the supposed bait and try to make it a big issue out of the name thing. Knowing the GOP can't resist and hopefully having a little foresight, what the Dems really SHOULD do is field a viable, crystal clean and young alternative and avoid the's a giveaway against Burris anyway.

    May 20, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Proud DHS radical

    Are there any non-crooked Kennedy's out there?

    May 20, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. skyhawkdriver

    Great..just what the country needs..another kennedy hack..I hope somebody checks this guys driving record

    May 20, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. Matthieu


    You should definitely go for the senate seat. We need a good person to replace the seat of President Obama who was a really good senator and I think you would make the perfect senator.

    May 20, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  6. Aaron

    I'm from Illinois and a democrat and am getting sick of the Kennedys as well as Roland Burris. If they can't put up a fresh name I may start voting for more republicans.

    May 20, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  7. Typical White Person

    Um...Kennedys are not doing so well lately in the political arena...

    May 20, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  8. Peter (CA)

    yeah, yeah, yeah we can't possibly have another Kennedy.

    Funny how the same right wingers saying this were OK with Jeb Bush possibly running for the Senate.

    May 20, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |

    Not another one

    May 20, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. Jayden,FL

    Great! cya Burris...

    May 20, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. WIlly Brown

    The culture of Kennedy corruption continues

    May 20, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. Sandy

    I wish the Kennedy's would go away. Not die but go away. They need to find another type of life then politics. I loved JFK, and loved Bobby but enough is enough. It should of stopped before Ted. You want change, voting in another Kennedy is not change.

    May 20, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. David

    Isn't Merchandise Mart owned by the Kennedy family?

    May 20, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  14. Niki Birdsflight

    These Kennedy members really want to keep a seat in the Senate. I say go for it since I support their moral, ethical and political issues. Thank you for the fight and hope you win.

    May 20, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  15. David

    Go Chris!!!!

    May 20, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  16. Joe M

    In your 'follow in his father's footsteps' comment, you make it sound like Chris is going to be assassinated. Ya might want to re-write that one.

    May 20, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  17. Kentucky

    Bobby Kennedy is proud somewhere in heaven

    May 20, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. txleadhead

    The Kennedy's can kiss my ass. They've run their course.

    May 20, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  19. Candy Wilson

    I'm sure there is something in his "genes"

    May 20, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  20. Danka1

    Good for him.

    May 20, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. Taylor B1

    I'm a Kennedy family fan...but why does this fellow, with no background in politics other than his name, think the voters should pick him over Giannoulis or Shakowsky (sorry if I've mis-spelled their names!)???

    May 20, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. Mark

    To the author:

    Please reword this paragraph IMMEDIATELY. It seems to suggest something that I do not believe you mean to suggest.

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

    May 20, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  23. warlance

    What is the thing with the Kennedys grabbing Senate seats. First of all, I thought one had to be from the state to run. Clinton grabbed the seat in NY and she was from Arkansas. It is an over all grab by the dems to control the country.

    May 20, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  24. Wow

    God help us that another son of someone is going to run for office her in Illinois. It seems to be the only way to get elected unless you go to court and get people thrown off the ballot like Obama did in his state senate election.

    May 20, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  25. mythoughtis

    If he has great ideas and seems honest and competent, I might vote for him. But that will have NOTHING to do with his name or ancestry.

    I am not one of those that worships at the base of the Kennedy throne. They are a large family, like many others, they've had great joy and great tragedy. These have been publicized due to their wealth and political connections, but overall, they have not had any more tragedy that any family.

    May 20, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
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