- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Ted Kennedy Jr., who has been mentioned as a possible political candidate for years, said he’s considering a run for the state Senate in Connecticut.

The son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, of Massachusetts, said he will decide within two weeks whether to seek this year’s Democratic nomination for the 12th Senatorial District seat being vacated by retiring Guilford Democrat Edward Meyer.

Kennedy thanked the 79-year-old Meyer for his service.

“I have been encouraged by many friends and civic leaders to consider running for the 12th Senate District seat,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I intend to seriously evaluate this opportunity for public service, and to discuss it with my family, close friends and leaders throughout the district.”

The seat represents Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison and North Branford. The 52-year-old health care lawyer lives in Branford. There are no declared candidates yet in the race.

“We have several quality candidates who are interested in running and we intend to vigorously contest this open seat, regardless of the Democratic candidate,” said state Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr., adding that the district is “trending Republican” and “it’s hard to imagine that the voters would choose to move farther to the left of Ed.”

Nancy DiNardo, the state Democratic chairwoman, said Kennedy would make a great public servant.

“Ted Kennedy Jr. is a longtime Connecticut resident, who’s devoted a lot of time to being an active, caring part of his community and his state,” DiNardo said. “He’s clearly passionate and smart about issues that matter in people’s lives.”

Kennedy is not doing interviews while he weighs a run, said John Murphy, a family friend.

Kennedy is an advocate for people with disabilities and co-founder of the New York-based Marwood Group, a health care-focused advisory and consulting firm headquartered in New York City.

His name has been floated over the years as a possible candidate for various political offices, including U.S. Senate seats in Connecticut and Massachusetts, but he has declined to run.

His brother, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, represented Rhode Island for 16 years before retiring in 2011.

Ted Kennedy Jr. has campaigned on behalf of Democratic politicians from the state, including Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, and for President Barack Obama.

Kennedy said in 2009 that he’s thought about running for political office, but had no immediate plans to do so.

“I would be lying to you if I said I never thought of running for office. I have,” Kennedy said after speaking to a labor convention. “I think every Kennedy has at one point thought about that.”

Kennedy, the late senator’s eldest son, said at the time his “primary job” is to raise his two young children and he called politics tough, demanding and “ruthless.”

Kennedy, who lost a leg from cancer at the age of 12, spoke to hundreds of mourners at his father’s funeral Mass in Boston in 2009, recalling how his father helped him climb a hill to sled. That experience, he said, taught him that even the most profound losses are survivable.

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