Kennedy, the grandson of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and great-nephew of President John F. Kennedy and U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, announced Thursday he is exploring a bid for the seat now held by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. Frank, who has been in Congress for 30 years, is not running for another term.
If he runs, Kennedy would be the first in his generation of the family to seek political office. His father, Joe Kennedy, and a cousin, Patrick Kennedy, both served in Congress, while his aunt, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, was lieutenant governor of Maryland.
"It's no longer an automatic," pollster John Zogby said. "He's not his Uncle Ted who ran when the Kennedys were still in full speed. There's been a respite. This time around, he's going to have to work."
The redrawn district is less friendly to Democrats, and Republicans said they were looking forward to taking on a Kennedy.
State Rep. Dan Winslow, a Republican whose hometown, Wrentham, is in the new 4th District, said Kennedy's name would draw national money to his opponent.
Kennedy is still an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County, although he said Thursday he is leaving the job. He refused to comment to The Boston Herald on his prospects.
"Dude, I'm at work," he said. "I can't answer these questions right now."