Joe Kennedy III will be a new U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts.
At around 9:30 p.m., the Associated Press called the race for 32-year old Kennedy, who lives in Brookline, as he was beating by a 2-1 margin Norfolk Republican Sean Bielat in the race to represent the redrawn Fourth Congressional District.
Rep. Barney Frank, a media celebrity Tuesday night at Kennedy's celebration party at the Newton Marriott Hotel, is retiring after serving the Fourth District since 1981.
Yes, the Kennedys are a famous political family, but Joe III especially follows family tradition with this particular win: his father, Joe Kennedy II, served as Congressman from Massachusetts (in the 8th Congressional District) from 1987-1999. And his great-uncle, who went on to become Pres. John F. Kennedy, got his political start in 1946 running for the 11th District seat in Massachusetts.
Joe Kennedy III is also the grandson of attorney general and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, and the great-nephew of the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Still, Joe III brings his own resume: he served in the Peace Corps (started by great-uncle Sargent Shriver during great-uncle John Kennedy's administration) in the Dominican Republic (2004-2006).
Joe III also was a prosecutor in the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office (2009-1011); he moved to the Middlesex County DA's office in September, 2011. He resigned that post (in January) after deciding to seek office.
Republican foe Sean Bielat repeatedly said during the campaign that Kennedy was too young and inexperienced to be in the race; that he was just trading on his family name. However, neither Kennedy nor Bielat, himself only 37, had ever been elected to public office.
Bielat has served four years in active duty and 10 years in reserve in the Marine Corps. He also served as an executive at iRobot; he is currently CEO of a startup website, OneClickPolitics.com.
Speaking at his victory party tonight, Kennedy paid tribute to Bielat, especially pointing out the ex-Marine's military service and community service.
Bielat in return tonight spoke well of Kennedy.
"I want to start by congratulating Joe Kennedy," Bielat said in his concession speech at the Needham Sheraton Hotel. "He was gracious when I called him."
Would Bielat have won if a Kennedy hadn't entered the race?
Bielat supporter Sid Krimsky told Patch reporter Brooklyn Lowery: "I truly believe Sean would have won had Kennedy not come into the race."
"There probably is somebody who can beat a Kennedy in Massachusetts," said Bielat supporter Dory Silverstein, "but not somebody who is a relative unknown."
At his victory party tonight, Kennedy said: "I am humbled, I am grateful and I am ready to get to work."