Joseph P. Kennedy III on the Campaign Trail

By Sarah Birnbaum

Feb. 16, 2012

joe kennedy

And ... he's off. Joseph P. Kennedy III makes a campaign stop in Attleboro, Mass., on Feb. 16 after declaring his candidacy for the 4th Congressional seat. (Steven Senne/AP)

BOSTON — After an online announcement, Joseph Kennedy III put in his first full day officially campaigning for the seat currently held by the retiring Barney Frank. He released a video announcement on Thursday before heading out on a campaign swing of the reconfigured 4th Congressional district.
"Together, we'll fight for a fair jobs plan that puts people back to work by rebuilding our infrastructure, creating a 21st-century energy economy and financing innovations that will stimulate job growth," he said.
In front of a crush of media at his first campaign stop in Newton, he flashed a Kennedy-esque smile and said he wasn’t riding into office on his family name: "You've got to earn it. You've got to go out every day. And talk to people. Listen to their concerns. Shake more hands. Knock on more doors. Make more phone calls."
Kennedy enters the race with a law background. He worked as a state prosecutor before resigning to work on his election bid. He graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School, speaks fluent Spanish and spent two years in the Peace Corps. He’s engaged to fellow Harvard Law alum Lauren Ann Birchfield.
Even before Kennedy officially declared his candidacy, he received endorsements from two major labor unions, and a recent poll showed him with a commanding early lead over Republican Sean Bielat, who lost to Barney Frank two years ago and is running again.
But Republican consultant Meredith Warren said Bielat still has a chance.
"Redistricting actually made the district more favorable to the GOP than it has been in the past," she said. "He lost a chunk of New Bedford which is typically Democratic leaning, and he gained parts of Attleboro and Wrentham, and that’s Scott Brown territory."
And Warren added that while the Kennedy legacy looms large, the newest contender still needs to prove himself to the voters.

LISTEN: Adam Reilly talks about Kennedy's first official appearance on "The Emily Rooney Show."

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