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Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Sen. Ed Markey won the Massachusetts Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday evening, fending off a bitter challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy, AP reports.

Why it matters: The power of the Kennedy name in Massachusetts wasn't enough to overcome the incumbency advantage and progressive credentials of Markey, the co-author of the Green New Deal.

Background: The race captured a unique generational dynamic between the Democratic Party's progressive and establishment wings.

  • 74-year-old Markey was backed by progressive champions like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), while the 39-year-old Kennedy earned endorsements from party leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • Pelosi served with Markey in the House for 25 years, before he was elected to the Senate in 2013 during a special election to replace former Sen. John Kerry, who had been nominated as Secretary of State.
  • Kennedy, the grandson of former Attorney General Bobby Kennedy and grand-nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, was elected to the House in 2012. He is the first Kennedy to lose a statewide race in Massachusetts.

The big picture: Even though Markey is an incumbent, his win is considered a big one for the progressive movement, which has seen mixed results this election cycle.

  • Progressive Jamaal Bowman defeated 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel in NY-16's Democratic primary in June.
  • Establishment favorite Amy McGrath defeated progressive state Rep. Charles Booker in Kentucky's Democratic U.S. Senate primary the same month.

Go deeper

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney elected chair of House Democrats' campaign arm

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Thursday was elected chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2022 cycle, narrowly defeating Rep. Tony Cardenás (D-Calif.) 119 to 107, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Maloney will be tasked with protecting House Democrats' slim majority in 2022 after they underperformed in November's election, losing seats in down-ballot races across the country.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Dec 3, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Nuclear power subsidy sign of climate debate to come

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A bipartisan Senate bill subsidizing existing nuclear power plants and backing new kinds of such technology passed a congressional committee on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It won’t become law before year’s end, but it’s likely to resurface in 2021 as an example of the type of bipartisan compromise expected under a divided Congress with President-elect Joe Biden in the White House.

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.

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