Attorney to Challenge Markey
BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey has faced just a handful of primary challenges in his more than four decades in Congress, but the Malden Democrat was served notice Monday that his 2020 re-election bid will not go uncontested.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, a prominent Brookline labor attorney, announced her plans to run against Markey in next year’s Democratic primary, pitching herself as a “fresh voice” who could shake up the status quo during a time of partisan gridlock.
Sixteen months before the election, she jumped into a pool of Democratic politics still churned up by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s upset defeat of popular incumbent Michael Capuano last September. And while running statewide will present a different set of challenges than Pressley faced when taking on an incumbent, Pressley’s victory -- as well as John Tierney’s loss to U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton in 2014 -- showed that the power of incumbency has its limits in Massachusetts.
“I have been fighting for workers for 20 years and I feel like the voices of working people need to be heard more in Washington today,” Liss-Riordan said. “The reason I’m doing this campaign is I think I can bring a new perspective. We need more women in the Senate, in particular.”
Liss-Riordan, in an interview, didn’t take on Markey directly over policy, but she described herself as “incredibly energized” by watching Pressley and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York topple incumbent Democrats last year.
“They showed that coming in with passion and beliefs, talking about what they believe in, outsiders can win against long-time incumbents. Women can win and I’m hoping to capitalize on the same energy,” Liss-Riordan said. She said she’s worried about corporations “profitting on the back of working people,” and the “assault” by Republicans on women’s reproductive rights.
As someone who has served in Congress since the 1970s, Markey may be vulnerable to charges of becoming a creature of the establishment. Supporters, however, will note that the Malden Democrat has also become one of the leading voices in the Senate on progressive issues like climate change.