Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-Mass.), who was considered an early favorite in the 1990 race to succeed retiring Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, announced Friday that he and his wife are separating and that he will not run for governor.
Kennedy, 36, son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, released a statement through his Boston office saying:
“This has been a very painful day for me and my family. As a father, my principal obligation and deepest personal desire is to assist my children through the most difficult time in their lives.”
The two-term congressman added that “I also have a commitment to serve the people of the 8th Congressional District, therefore I feel it impossible at this time to take on the added burden of running for another office.
Clear Up Speculation
“To end any further speculation, I wish to make it clear that I do not intend to run for governor.”
In a separate statement, Kennedy said that he and his wife, Sheila, have decided to separate “only after long and intense efforts to find another course. We consider it to be a personal matter and don’t intend to comment on it further.”
The Kennedys, married in 1979, have twin sons, Matthew and Joseph P. III.
“I intend to give a great deal of my time and energies to Matt and Joe,” Kennedy said in his statement.
Aide Jim Mahoney said Kennedy left Boston on Friday to spend the weekend with his sons. Aides declined to say where he had gone and said he would be unavailable for comment.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the congressman’s uncle, who is divorced, said he was “very sad for Joe and Sheila. I love them both and I love their children, and I know how difficult this time can be for their family.”
Rep. Kennedy, oldest male in the rising generation of his prominent political family, was elected in 1986 and reelected in 1988.