Amy Kennedy is leaning on the dynastic power of one of America’s most famous political families as she seeks the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district.
Her husband, former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), is the son of late Ted Kennedy, who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate from 1962 until his death in 2009, and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.
Her family’s influence has drawn contributions from donors who would otherwise have little to do with New Jersey politics, helping her raise $816,330 so far in her bid to unseat Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis).
Former Democratic National Chairman Paul Kirk, a close family friend who briefly filled Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat until a special election was held, donated $2,800. So did Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), who won the House seat Patrick Kennedy vacated months before he announced his engagement and moved to Brigantine.
She has also received donations from Rep. David Trone (D-Maryland), firm director James Brooks, former Boston Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino, San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer, and Reginald Love, who was President
Patrick Kennedy’s step-mother, Vicki, and his brother, Connecticut State Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr., maxed out to Amy Kennedy’s campaign.
Other members of the Kennedy family have contributed in smaller amounts – like cousins Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Lt. Governor of Maryland, and Victoria Lawford — but those donations account for only a few thousand dollars collectively.
Direct contributions from the Kennedy family account for a relatively small portion of Amy Kennedy’s first-quarter fundraising haul.
In Massachusetts, several relatives have contributed to Rep. Joseph E. Kennedy III for his challenge to incumbent Edward Markey in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, but not to Amy Kennedy.
Patrick and Amy Kennedy have each contributed $5,600 to Joe Kennedy, the son of Patrick’s first cousin, former Rep. Joseph E. Kennedy II (D-Massachusetts), but Joe Kennedy and his father or their spouses have not reciprocated by donating to the Amy Kennedy campaign.
Several of Patrick Kennedy’s first cousins have contributed to Joe Kennedy but not to Amy Kennedy, including Maria, Mark and Robert Shriver, Rory Kennedy
Joe Kennedy reported raising $245,189 from New Jersey donors – he was in Monmouth County last month for a fundraiser hosted by State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) — nearly five times the amount that Amy Kennedy raised in her home state.
Amy Kennedy raised $59,150 in Massachusetts – $7,705 more than her New Jersey total.
Though Amy Kennedy’s fundraising haul of $816,330 far outpaced Brigid Callahan Harrison’s $258,345, it’s not clear whether that cash advantage will hold through the second quarter.
Included in Kennedy’s numbers is a $250,000 bank loan she took out to boost her campaign.
Kennedy is also burning through her money at a breakneck pace. She spent $409,056.45 in the first quarter.
Harrison spent just $80,810.22 over the same period.
Republicans may choose to attack Kennedy for the overwhelming presence of out-of-state money in her campaigns, but such attacks likely won’t come from Van Drew.
Roughly two thirds, about $1.1 million, of the $1.7 million the congressman raised last year came from outside of the Garden State.