Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Chris Kennedy organizing campaign to run for Illinois Senate seat.


Updated with quote from Chris Kennedy

WASHINGTON--Everything I am hearing on Tuesday points to Chris Kennedy getting into the Illinois 2010 Senate race. Maybe this will change but a Kennedy decision is close. As of Tuesday afternoon, the plan calls for him to be announcing sometime probably next week. Long time Kennedy family friend Jay Doherty is being tapped to head up the fund-raising effort.

Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel and nephew of JFK, is president of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., based in Chicago, a company that runs 13 properties across the country and one in Canada.

Kennedy, who lives in north suburban Kenilworth, turns 46 on July 4.

I talked to Kennedy on Tuesday night. "I'm keeping my options alive and working through a whole series of issues still," he told me.

Kennedy will face a Democratic primary: Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is in; Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) has not ruled out a run for the seat he was appointed to by the tainted Gov. Blagojevich; Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said she will decide by June 8. Chicago Urban League Chief Cheryle Jackson has been telling people she may jump in but wants to see what Schakowsky does first.

The potential field-clearing wild card is Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is being wooed by the Democratic Senate political organization. Madigan is leaning heavily to running for governor, setting up a Democratic primary with Gov. Pat Quinn.

But a call from President Obama could, perhaps, swing her over to the Senate contest.


You must elect me, Illinois. I'm a Kennedy!

The Kennedys have got to STOP running on name recognition only! There are only two Kennedys with a real record: Ted and Pat. The rest have got to stop living off their name.

I think that often we focus too much on which party is better in our country, but we should focus on what the two parties can do together. With this bipartisan attitude, we can accomplish a lot more. Personally, I would like to see the US take the leading role in the effort to make poverty history. The Borgen Project has good info on the estimated cost of ending global poverty:

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.

$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget.

Who is this guy and what exactly makes him qualified to be our Senator??? How long has he even lived in Illinois for? Just because his last name is "Kennedy" does he expect people to vote for him. Since he already hired Axelrod's old firm, he probably has some deep pockets and thinks he can just buy the seat.

Anyone is better than Roland Burris. Even if Satan himself were to be running. I take that back, if Dick Cheney were to run for office in Chicago, that wouldn't be in the cities best interests. But Kennedy is a great alternative to what we have now, even against other qualified people who could run.

Why is holding a political office considered a Kennedy birthright? Joe was a bootlegger not a king.


But, in reality, this state has reelected two governors who were knee deep in political scandal. So, I shouldn't waste my breath.

We get the government we deserve and we have been very, very BAD.

This looks like very bad news for the Democrats. Alexi Giannoulias is already in the race with $1.1 million in the bank and experience winning a statewide political campaign. Kennedy brings one of the best names in politics and close ties to the Chicago business community. Jan Schakowsky, who is still seriously mulling a bid, would have instant support among progressives and unions.

And finally there is Roland Burris who has proven he can get the support of black political leaders despite how he came to the office. He could count on a sizeable portion of the black vote.

That would be the Democratic primary: three relatively evenly matched opponents pummeling each other into oblivion while Roland Burris waits in the wings hoping to scrape by.

The entry of Kennedy into the race also begs the question of whether Mike Madigan will get involved. He and Giannoulias have a long-standing feud and Madigan did everything he could to destroy Alexi in the 2006 primary. Considering the odd comments Lisa Madigan made a few weeks ago about discussing the race with Kennedy, perhaps Madigan has gotten involved already.

Finally, I have to wonder whether hiring David Axelrod’s firm is going to help Kennedy that much. Remember, we just elected an Illinois Democrat to the White House. Obama took a lot of Illinois’ political operatives, David Axelrod chief among them, to Washington with him. How good is Axelrod’s firm without him? How deep is the Illinois Democratic political operative bench now that so many of them are in Washington working for Obama?

The last thing the Democrats want is a contentious primary with multiple credible candidates, each roughly representing a faction in the Democratic Party. It would be civil war. Yet that appears to be exactly what they are getting.

Chris Kennedy is perfectly positioned to run for Obama's "soon to be challenged" Senate seat. Chris is long time resident of Illinois and has been active at many levels in Chicago having run the Merchandise Mart and thier network of national properties. He may have a "silver spoon" last name but his business savy and leadership skills are very much needed in the next person to represent Illinois in the US Senate.

Please spare us anymore Kennedy's from public office.Ted and JFK were enough for a life time.

We should do away with the general election in Illinois and just let the Democratic primary winner be our elected official. We have become a one party state and nothing good can come from it.

The last time I checked the requirement to run for the Senate:

You have to be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the US for at least the past nine years and a resident of the state you would like to represent as per Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution.

There once was a time when young Ted ran for the Senate. He was considered a lightweight....So much for that term. He is probably one of the most prepared Senator in Washingto.

Having worked with Chris Kennedy over the past 15 years in the Mart, he has demonstrated strong leadership qualities. His vision for our industry and the Chicago economy is dynamic. He should fit in well in the Senate and do a great very capably managing the interests of the people of Illinois.

Enough Kennedys. Ted is a memory that keeps on giving...How about the downstate judge, Don Lowery, Not tied up in the Chicago corruption party, a breath of fresh air, and a straight shooter.

Anybody who knows the Kennedy family personally, knows that they are a generous people, a loving family, and a family who have endured more hardships then most could ever handle. Yes, certain Kennedy's have had thier hiccups, but show me a family (especially one of that size) that hasn't. The thing about Chris, is that if you were to take his last name out of the equation, he would still be kind, qualified, and a rather suitable choice for the Senate seat or anything else he would set out to do! Go ahead and judge him on his commiment, his merit, and his passion for a better community, and country. I dare you!

thats why only rich can run not a normal person who might make a difference partys selfish worry about themselves instead of real people out of work cant come together 4 sake of countrys where have all the warm caring hearts gone!I love people i know must be more feel this way sacrifices and strong will power and more tendency after a debate 2 give a little 4 american people god bless all! i say no one votes maybe they will learn.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 19, 2009 3:36 PM.

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