Opinion: Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Edward Kennedy’s son, opts to retire at 42


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The 42-year-old Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island has decided not to seek a ninth term from the itty-bitty state’s First District.

Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died last August of a brain tumor, is the 32d representative and the 14th Democrat to announce their retirement at the end of this congressional term, about 7% of the entire House membership.


His departure means for the first time in nearly a half-century there will be no member of the Kennedy clan in the United States Congress.

Patrick Kennedy, who was born after the assassination of his uncle, , the president, John F. was a standard liberal on social issues and more centrist on foreign policy and national security.

While he proved eminently successful as a party fundraiser and easily won re-elections (69-24 in 2008), the bachelor’s personal life was littered with problems, including depression and at least two rehabs for alcoholism and addiction to pain killers.

Kennedy’s departure is unlikely to change the party balance of power, as his Rhode Island district is heavily Democratic, having gone for Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain 65-33 in 2008.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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