RI-01: AP Source Says Patrick Kennedy Will Retire

Huh, wow:

A Democratic official says Rep. Patrick Kennedy has decided not to seek re-election for his seat representing Rhode Island in the U.S. Congress.

The official spoke to The Associated Press only on the condition that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak ahead of the official announcement. …

Patrick Kennedy has been in and out of treatment for substance abuse since crashing his car outside the U.S Capitol in 2006. Still, he has been comfortably re-elected twice since then, after making mental health care his signature issue in Washington.

Kennedy sought treatment as recently as the middle of last year, so his recurring problems may be a reason for his decision to depart. It’s also worth noting that a recent poll pegged his re-elects at a not-so-hot 35-28. Republican state Rep. John Loughlin had already announced a challenge to Kennedy; he has $110K in the bank. Presumably, many names will line up on the Dem side, as this D+13 district gave 65% of its vote to Barack Obama and 62% to John Kerry.

RaceTracker Wiki: RI-01

115 thoughts on “RI-01: AP Source Says Patrick Kennedy Will Retire”

  1. I live in RI-01 and I did not see this coming at all. (granted I spend most of my time in Illinois where I go to school.) I hope my state Sen. Rhoda Perry runs to replace him, she is ultra-progressive and would be a great congresswoman, but I have no idea if she would consider it. (sadly this may pave the way for Buddy Cianci. UGH!)

  2. Are we talking about a Congress without a Kennedy for the first time since 1946?

    As an Irishman and a Democrat, I’m extremely saddened by the prospect.

  3. Could the next congress really be the 1st COngress since JFK was elected to the House in ’46 that there will be no Kennedy serving? This is disappointing that the most famous family in US History is starting to “die” down. I guess Teddy’s death did indeed mark the end of an era.  

  4. Patrick Kennedy has been such a great advocate on mental health issues and every bit just as progressive as his father. There were rumors earlier this week that Bill Delahunt would retire in nearby MA-10 and that Joe Kennedy III will run to replace him, so we won’t necessarily be Kennedy-less after all though.

  5. to get a Kennedy to run right now.  Get Joe Kennedy III to run in the MA-10 (rumor about that going on).  That will ensure that seat doesn’t get competitive.. and we get to keep a Kennedy in government.  

  6.     I know that that republicans were making some noise about seriously challenging him this year. But still it would have been extremely difficult to unseat him. I wonder if he would have been retiring if his father was alive and well.

  7. I felt extremely bad for him over the years with his substance sbuse problems and that and his dad passing probally put him over the line to end it. Luckically he dosen’t come from a swing district so we should have no problem holding down the fort here but stil sad to see him go.

    Best of luck in your future endevors Pat.

  8. While looking at the Providence Journal for some more news on Kennedy’s retirement I came across this.


    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — After seven years at the height of political power in Rhode Island, West Warwick Democrat William J. Murphy has stepped down to make way for lawyer Gordon D. Fox – who has been his top deputy and chosen successor — to take his place at the rostrum.

    With Murphy’s departure now official, the full House is poised to elevate Fox, 48, from House majority leader to what many consider the most powerful political position in the state. He would become the state’s first black and first openly gay House Speaker.

  9. There is a host of high-profile Democrats who may be interested in the seat, according to political observers, such as Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, Democratic Party Chairman William Lynch, Cumberland Mayor Daniel J. McKee and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts.


  10. for Democrats to hold a seat without Kennedy with his numerous problems, which his opponents always try to exploit, then with him. Democratic bench in this district is extremely long and it’s very difficult for Republican to win it (though i remember Ron Machtley, who held this district for some terms, so it’s not impossible). But, please, not Myrth York again – she may lose to everybody and his cat too…

  11. if Charlie Cook is a biased son of a gun after all.  He refused to move MI-3 (R+6 PVI) out from Solid R, and though no statement has been made yet on it, it appears that FL-25 (R+5 PVI) has moved away from Solid R either.  

    If RI-1 (D+13) moves from Solid D, it’ll prove that the cronies at Cook Political Report are just as bad as Scott Rasmussen, maybe worse.  How can you move a D+13 seat but not an R+5?!  

  12. Maybe he just didn’t want to work for relection. Normally I’d roll my eyes at this but his last year has been shitty to say the least.

  13. It smacks of jealousy and pettiness. I have a lot of respect for the family members who would devote their lives to a profession which led to the assassinations of JFK and RFK. At least we won’t have to hear the anti-kennedy whiners anymore. Good luck to Patrick Kennedy.  

  14. Just what if he is retiring, moves to MA, and takes back Teddy’s seat from Brown?

    Sounds like a plot to some movie come to think of it.

  15. I really feel that that is what he’s planning on doing.

    Now he has 2 years to establish MA residency and build his image (beyond being just a Kennedy).  

  16. could just be the fact that Patrick is just tired from Washington having seen what seems like the death of HCR and the death of his father.  

  17. he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  The various substance abuse can be presumed to be secondary to that.

    My sense is that for PK it is Ted gone, HCR on the shoals for a couple more years, and regret for the 2006 incidents.  The disorder will continue to generate incidents/problems and unreliability; he may be tired of the ordeal that puts him through.  And I’m sure he senses his constituents feel they have been through enough as well, though they may feel duty bound to reelect him.

  18. I understand the symbolic value but the idea that the Kennedy’s are forever entitled is a bit royalist.  If the best person running for the seat is a Kennedy we should elect him/ her, but we shouldn’t be insisting that a Kennedy needs to always be there.    

  19. Joe Kennedy already said he wasn’t going to run.

    I think Patrick Kennedy is moving to challenge Brown in 2012.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if RFK Jr. would run either in NY or CA. He’s a big environmentalist and that plus his name could help him get a seat in CA or replace Feinstein if she retires in 2012 (at age 78). Besides the Senate he could run in CA-24 (Santa Barbara), CA-26 (Eastern LA County), CA-45 (Palm Springs), CA-46 (Huntington Beach), CA-48 (Irvine), or the CA-50 (Encinitas).

  20. The first half of the clip was him touting his accomplishments, which made it sound like a campaign ad, and then he announces his retirement and thanks everybody. It even ended in typical campaigning style “I’m Patrick Kennedy and I approve this message”. I swear, if he omitted the part where he said he will not be a candidate for reelection, it almost sounds like he’s running again.

  21. When I mean in style announceing his retirement in a nice fashion, not talking about why he’s retireing throughout the whole clip but to talk about what he has done in his 16 years as a Congressman. That’s what I got out of  it.

    He probally said the approve his message line because that would be the last time he would ever say it as a Congressman.

    Honestly I feel bad for the guy, he’s been battling drug and alcohol problems for years and that’s not something to laugh at and on top of that he’s got not family of his own (no wife and kid) and his did dying probally made him realize he got nothing left. Sometimes I see him sitting on the House floor beat up. washed up and looking like Hell. He looked like a man who’s got nothing left. When I said I wish him luck that wasn’t lip service I meant it because I feel for him and the rest of the Kennedy’s.

  22. You legally have to say your name and I approve this ad. Any ad with a candidate has to say that. FEC law.

  23. did release a 2 minute ad in the days after Wall Street melted down in 2008. I wonder why Patrick Kennedy has decided to hang up the towel? I hope the loss of his father’s senate seat to Scott Brown didn’t send shivers through his spine.

  24. Since it was a political message, it would have to have been produced with campaign funds, and that authorization message is therefore required.

  25. That and seeing his father’s goal go down in flames.  I mean, I would imagine they had plenty of lunches, meetings, etc. together in Congress and now that’s gone.

  26. But that’s something for another discussion. I really think his abuse problems were a factor but yeah his dad dying was the thing that put him over the edge. Believe me losing a mom or dad is hard, atleast Patrick knew his dad for a long time, i’m 23 and my dad died when I was 14 and I took it very hard because I loved him so much. The same most likely goes for him.

  27. Republicans nominated Kennedys. Self admittance from a Republican that public policy is being better made with those two democrats (Klobuchar and Landrieu) winning and holding those Senate seats.

    The more we know!

  28. Your a major a-hole, sorry for cursing at another poster but his comment was certainly uncalled for.

  29. but here in Rhode Island he will be dearly missed. He had his issues but what RI politician doesn’t, everything’s dysfunctional here. As I mentioned in another thread RI is one of the worst states in the nation for mental health care and by having his eyes opened to that by his own experiences, he became a true advocate for the people of Rhode Island.

  30. ArkRep you should love Kennedy:

    More than likely his work on behalf of SCHIP covered the cost of your childhood lobotomy.

    Thank goodness I am a decent America-loving progressive who would never say anything like that.

  31. To say that here. Look, I’m a Republican on a liberal blog. When you are, you need to know what to say and what NOT to say. Kennedy bashing is one of those things that you should know NOT to do. Look, I’m not a Kennedy fan. I don’t mind the one’s that work their way up to the top, but not the one’s who depend on their name to get them further. However, when Patrick Kennedy announces he is not running for re-election and he is working on serious (mental health) issues that are close to many people in this country, I have to applaud him. Autism is especially close to me, as I have an autistic cousin and grew up seeing the treatment autistic children get in school. I must say, we he said he was going to be helping with autism, I gained a lot of respect for Patrick Kennedy.  

  32. Interesting how the ProJo is being slow to post the Kennedy story, but this is also interesting. I didn’t even know Fox was black, to be honest. But he is a good East Side liberal and is an alum of my HS so I support him :) much better than conservadem Murphy!

  33. ok, that’s a bit of my exaggeration, but Dems hold pretty much every senate and house seat here. I am thinking of contacting my state senator Rhoda Perry to run–she is a rising star, very liberal, well-liked. Former Providence mayor/ultimate scumbag Buddy Cianci was already thinking of running and this could push him towards it, although I think he would run as an independent (as mayor, he was a Republican then switched to independent). I suppose it’s possible that Betsy Dennigan could switch from RI-02 to RI-01; her district is located in RI-01 and she pretty much moved to RI-02 solely to primary Langevin. Other than that I’m not sure who might run.

  34. I remember because of his abuse problems in ’06 led to him crashing his car into a wall and Hannity and all those GOP asswipes were making fun of him and calling him a joke. I didn’t see that. I saw a man who need desperate need of help and a man hanging by a thread. I find it funny that Glenn Beck has his own problems with substances yet makes fun of the guy on his radio program like he’s holier than thou. Pat Kennedy has a legit problems and I hope that after this year with him out of Congress he can have the time to clean up and get himself together. And your right he was a advocate for mental health as I think he started the mental health caucus in the House. He will be missed and to say the Government would be better WITHOUT a Kennedy is rude and uncalled for. You want to talk about that go to RedState, you want to post here act like a adult and grow up.

  35. Providence Journal mentioned Cililline as a candidate. He’s the msyor of Providence and I know that city is in Jim Langevin’s district.

  36. my guess is that he would receive the (tacit) support of Obama as he endorsed him in the primary while Cicilline and Roberts endorsed Hillary (not sure about McKee). But with his brother running for governor, voters might get Lynch fatigue.

  37. Cicilline lives on the East Side which is in RI-01. I didn’t really think of him as the Congress type though. Then again it’s possible that all the fighting with the unions he does on a constant basis is getting to him. Elizabeth Roberts is intelligent and would probably make a good congresswoman, but I remember seeing a poll a while back showing her poll numbers suffering which surprised me. She’s a big step up from Charlie Fogarty (previous Lt. Governor, blew the 2006 Governor race, typical RI Dem with no personality).

  38. According to RI-1 Wikipedia bio, here’s what’s in the district.


    Cities and towns currently in the district

    The district includes:

    the following communities in Providence County:


    Central Falls


    East Providence


    North Providence

    North Smithfield


    Providence (Precincts 2801-2808, 2813-2839, 2843-2844, 2847-2850, and 8103)



    all of Bristol County

    all of Newport County

  39. I think thry protray themselves as family guys to hide who they really are: guys with personal demons whatever it’s Beck with his substance problems, Rush with his pill addiction, Vitter and Ensign with their cheating and Craig being a gay, not that there’s nothing wrong with that but it’s wrong when you try to hide it for political reasons. Also it’s the fact that these guys are con artists and hypocrites plain and simple.

  40. I don’t think you meant any harm but a lot of gay people find saying “a gay” to be in somewhat poor taste. Just letting you know for the future, not getting angry. :)

  41. I did not meant any harm whatsoever, Let me correct it. I should of say Larry Craig being gay instead of being a gay, because by saying that it make it look like I think of homosexuals as animals and not real people, which they most certainly are. So I apologize for my typing mistake.

  42. And it’s a site that can election news and a site that has pages for each state annd in those links tells you who the Congressman, Senators, Governor and Statewide politicans are and who’s running againist them. In RI’s page it shows State Rep. Jon Brien as a potential candial. Brien is a Dem who represents HD-50 which contains part of the city of Woonsocket.


    Oh BTW there’s a guy running for RI-Gov as a member of a party of the Cool Moose. Know anything about that party sapelcovits

  43. If you don’t lke my comment I quite frankly don’t give a damn. It’s 2am and on my 3rd glass of Captain Morgan.

  44. I love the Coolmoose party. They’re not actually a legit party but those of us RIers who know about them dig the name. Once I got bored and actually checked out their platform; they seem to be more or less libertarian.

  45. It’s over 2am and the mods are most likely sleeping so they won’t get in trouble until tommorrow when James and David lays the hammer down.

  46. You would bevert to all Dems being part of the Commie/Socialists clique so were even Comrad lol.

  47. I knew Kennedy’s predcessor in the House was a Republican. You brought up multiple loser Myrth York. Is there talk about her running for this seat?

  48. I think buyer’s remorse is enough here that no one would want her. and if Cicilline does take the plunge he’ll probably win over the East Side vote, leaving her with no base. Of course I’m not convinced he’ll run but a Rhoda Perry candidacy would have a similar effect =)

  49. For what, for all of us being sad to see Patrick leave ofice. God forbid we do thst. What makes me sick were the trools on here mocking the Kennedys and being glad to see Patrick leaving office and you shaming us for liking the Kennedy’s. If we want a Kennedy in office it’s the peoples right to elect one and I have no problem doing so like Joe Kennedy II for example. Get off your high horse man.

  50. What I meant is if the american people want a Kennedy in office, it’s their choice to do so, most of the time they will. There’s nothing sick about this thread at all if being sick mean feeling bad a alright Congressman is retiring after his dad dying and his problems with alcohol.

  51. Must of forgot about Ted Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, Joe Kennedy II. There good as well, espically that one named Ted.

  52. I was in college in RI during two of her runs. Maybe she and Martha Coakley and Katherine Kennedy Townsend can form some sort of worst campaigner supergroup.

    (It blew my mind that she got the nomination again. And then they were like, “Hey, the first two times were an embarrassment, maybe the third time’s a charm!”)

  53. …to people who don’t know him he came off as more than a bit of a blowhard with often over the top and sometimes inappropriate rhetoric.

    However.  Once he realized his Presidential ambitions were over in the 1980s he became a really good Senator and legislator.  And regardless of how partisan he may have come off on tv was great at cutting deals, crafting legislation, and delivery for the state of Massachusetts.

    He was a case where the sound clips you see on the evening news didn’t tell you the whole story by any strech of the imagination.  He wasn’t re-elected for so long because he was a Kennedy.  He was re-elected for what he accomplished.

  54. very much afraid of the Kennedy name, so much that they have to campaign against it on mere blogs such as this one.

  55. There is something about the Kennedy family that after all these years sends these teabagging wingers into a frenzy.

  56. So far Ras’s polls have been spot on for the most recent elections. I know that there are lots of people here who think Ras is in some sort of secret cabal with the Republican leadership, but there numbers haven’t even been that far from PPP. All the indicators point to a really bad cycle for Democrats, so it’s not just Scott Rasmussen being evil.

    As far Cook’s ratings, so far the Dems don’t have an established challenger in either the Florida or the Michigan district. Also the Democrats will likely be running against the headwind of successful Republican campaigns for governor in both of those states. 2010 isn’t going to be like 2006 or 2008. So yeah I agree with Cook not moving those, the most I could see is a move to Likely Republican for FL-25, but w/ out a serious Dem running in either district I don’t see how you can justify moving the ratings. However, a change for RI-01 would be pretty ridiculous, anything over Likely Democratic would be laughable, and I think even that is a stretch.

  57. Unless I’m mistaken, after John was elected President, there was no Kennedy in Congress until Ted won his seat in a 1962 election (a caretaker was appointed in between, waiting until Ted turned 30 to be legally eligible for the seat).

    Am I forgetting another Kennedy who was serving in Congress during this period?

  58. Joe Garcia lost in 08 in the 25th with 47%. He was  competitive in the FL-25th even against a popular Republican incumbent. He has to be the favorite now (or close to it) so yes the FL-25 should move.

    Rasmussen is a Republican hack its not a conspiracy. The guy jumps as the best Republican news and polls them ASAP. He also doesn’t publish results that hurt Republicans (Indiana Senate?).

    Michigan has no bench in any seat by either party. Short term limits (8 years Senate and 6 years House) creates such constant turnover and turmoil that both parties really have no known candidates until they run. Look at MI-09 and Gary Peters. Nobody knew who he was. He was the former Lotto commish, poly sci professor, and for 8 years 1995-2002 (first term was pre-term limits). In 2008 nobody remembered him and he still beat a 15 year incumbent.  

  59. Lean Dem, Tossup, or Lean Republican would be indefensible. Even with Kennedy’s retirement the district is still probably Solid Dem but I could see a rating of Likely Dem without dismissing it out of hand.

  60. If we were talking about an election held tomorrow, then it’d be Solid D.

    However, it being an open seat, for an election held in November I’d rate it at Likely D, based on the possibility of a dud getting in on our side or them running a surprisingly strong candidate.

    As for FL-21 and FL-25, for November, I’d rate them Lean or Likely R, while for tomorrow, I’d rate them Likely or Solid R.

  61. However, I would rather rate it based on what nominees are likely to come forward. The Dems bench in  MI-06 is almost non-existent, combine that w/ the nature of the cycle and I don’t see that being a very competitive district. FL-25 could definitely be a much closer race based on last year’s results but I wouldn’t put that in the lean category due to the cycle. FWIW, I would keep RI as solid dem due to the strongly democratic nature of the district, it could get competitive if the GOP nominee runs a Scott Brown like campaign AND if the D’s really bloody each other in an acrimonious primary fight. However, I do see your point of looking at the long term as more uncertain.  

  62. The article mentions approvals for Reed, Langevin, and Whitehouse, but not Kennedy. Also that poll seems unclear about whether or not they asked the entire state about Kennedy, which would be dumb since he only represents half of it.

  63. thankfully she endorsed Chafee in 2006 to get back at Whitehouse for the 2002 primary, which probably pissed off the Dem party establishment, which would further kill any chances she has of actually making it out of this primary alive.

  64. after he decides to retire on a lefty blog is not kosher. However, when you start name calling it only serves to lower the overall civility of the blog. You can call them out without using 4 letter words and crude language.  

  65. However, Wikipedia says he’s half Cape Verdean, which makes somewhat more sense. Cape Verdeans have somewhat lighter skin than most African-Americans.

  66. Patrick Kennedy wouldn’t talk about the new direction his life is moving in then jump right back into politics…plus he already has an image beyond being “just a Kennedy.”

  67. Live in Arkansas not like.

    Ruined a stupid joke by misspelling the word. Great. Makes me look like a moran!

    (That’s a joke to the Tea Party group before I get comments)

  68. Rasmussen always has strategic messages for republicans in their polls.

    Last polls for example call to republicans for fight in:





    call for less the level of attack in:


    and call for forget the race:

    CO-Gov (low republican fundraise in Colorado)

    Krolicki for NV-Sen (low republican fundraise in Nevada)

  69. Yeah, he’s a Republican, but generally speaking, he makes smart comments, backed up by facts and competent analysis. That is why I, for one, am happy he’s here, especially because I like reading a diverse set of perspectives and opinions.

    But yeah, badmouthing a Kennedy on a liberal blog is like calling Sarah Palin a retard on RedState. Just not going to be conducive to good discussion.

  70. It’s funny you feel like this statement needs a “but.”

    Yeah, he’s a Republican, but generally speaking, he makes smart comments, backed up by facts and competent analysis.

    I understand why, though – because some (probably most, maybe almost all) other Republicans who’ve come here have been trolls, and he and InRepublican are not (those are the two who come to mind).

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