Sen. Feeney will weigh run for Kennedy’s US House seat over ‘coming days’

SE Mass

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — State Sen. Paul Feeney said Thursday he will spend “the coming days” deciding whether to run for the U.S. House seat that Congressman Joe Kennedy III is giving up to make a run for Senate.

Feeney, 41, has been frequently mentioned as a potentially strong Democratic candidate in Kennedy’s 4th Congressional District, which runs from Fall River up through the Attleboros and Taunton to the Boston suburbs. His Senate seat overlaps a significant portion of the district.

“Over the last month, I’ve been clear when asked, that I would wait until Congressman Kennedy made a decision before I considered running for the 4th District seat,” Feeney, D-Foxboro, told WPRI 12. “Now that it appears Joe has made a decision to run for the United States Senate, I will take the coming days to speak with my family, supporters and voters throughout the district about the open congressional seat.”

“These decisions should never be about ego, opportunity or personal ambition and should always be about how we can best serve our Commonwealth and our country,” Feeney continued. “It is the honor of a lifetime to serve as the state senator of the Bristol & Norfolk District and with that in mind, I will take the time needed to make the right decision.”

Feeney has represented the Bristol & Norfolk District since October 2017, when he won a special election to replace Democrat Jim Timilty. He was helped by strong support from labor unions and progressive groups, and was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Feeney would join what is already shaping up to be a crowded field of hopefuls seeking to represent the 4th District in Washington. Since Kennedy’s advisers confirmed 24 hours ago that he would run against U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, multiple Massachusetts political figures have indicated their interest.

Treasurer Deb Goldberg, a Brookline Democrat, had already filed the paperwork. Goldberg “is in a decision-making process that involves talking to friends, family and advisors,” a spokesperson told WPRI 12 on Wednesday, adding that “she has had productive conversations with leaders and activists.”

State House News Service reported Democrat Jesse Mermell, the head of the Alliance for Business Leadership and a former top aide to Gov. Deval Patrick, will launch a campaign for Kennedy’s House seat “within days.” Politico Massachusetts reported David Cavell, a senior adviser to Attorney General Maura Healey, may run as well.

Former Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan, a Democrat, posted a tweet noting that his city would now have an open House seat along with an emoji of a thinking face, suggesting he will consider a run.

Among Republicans, state Rep. Shawn Dooley of Norfolk has been frequently mentioned as a potential candidate. He declined to comment Wednesday night.

Ted Nesi ( is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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