Kennedy’s absence has frustrated some Warren allies who feel he could be an eloquent and forceful presence on the trail in the final stretch, when she needs all the help she can get.
“Where’s Joe?,” fumed one who is up in New Hampshire this weekend helping Warren. “Everybody should be here.”
“It is notable that progressive leaders from across Massachusetts are using their staff resources to recruit for Warren canvasses, and headlining canvass launches in New Hampshire, yet Kennedy is not,” said a Boston-based Democratic strategist who is supporting Warren.
Kennedy in September launched a primary challenge for Senate against incumbent Ed Markey. Warren had already endorsed Markey months earlier, but she went out of her way at the time of Kennedy’s surprise announcement to sing his praises.
Kennedy’s campaign staff noted that he had raised over $1.7 million for other Democratic candidates and travels all around the country for the party. They also argued that Kennedy had made “several” trips to New Hampshire for Warren specifically.
But a Warren press release from Jan. 21 noted it was Kennedy’s “second trip to New Hampshire for Warren for President; he endorsed Senator Warren in February 2019.”
The Kennedy campaign declined to comment further.
On Sunday, Kennedy was with a few hundred of his own supporters in Boston at a “Kennedy Regional Organizing Convention” for his Senate bid.
“Over 400 folks on cold Sunday, 2 days before a major primary being held just an hour down the road — all here for Joe,” tweeted his digital director Roger Lis.
Other high-profile Warren endorsers, including Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Katie Porter, and former presidential candidate Julián Castro, have done many more events for Warren in the early states despite endorsing months after Kennedy. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has made several trips, appearing on Warren’s behalf in the debate spin room Friday night and on local news shows over the weekend. And Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, a fellow former Warren student, made multiple trips to Iowa.
“It’s disappointing not to see him here 72 hours before an important New England primary,” said another Warren ally, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity in order not to damage relationships with Kennedy.
In a statement, Warren’s campaign spokesman Chris Hayden said, “We’re proud to have Rep. Kennedy’s support and our supporters in New Hampshire have been excited every time he has come to rally support for Elizabeth.” A Warren campaign source said that Kennedy has made other efforts to help her, such as calling fellow lawmakers, and that his staff has been campaigning for her.
Kennedy has sent more than 100 volunteers to New Hampshire over the last several months, and plans to send more than 20 there on Tuesday. Kennedy also plans to hold a field call with Warren’s New Hampshire organizers on Monday night. He held a similar call with college organizers last week.
Markey, too, has appeared just twice on the campaign trail for Warren. But he is less well-known than Kennedy, whose surname alone guarantees interest from voters. Markey did organize a bus of volunteers up to New Hampshire for the final weekend before the primary.
His campaign seemed to relish needling Kennedy way for not helping, too. Their Senate primary is not until Sept. 1.
“It’s a hard schedule,” said Markey campaign manager John Walsh. “But Ed said we’ve gotta go help Elizabeth Warren.”