Kennedy, 42, was first elected to the House in 1994. His departure will leave Congress without a Kennedy for the first time since 1962, when his father was elected to the Senate seat held previously by his uncle, John F. Kennedy.
In a two-minute video retirement announcement, Kennedy invokes the memory of his father as he explains his decision to leave the House.
“My father instilled in me a deep commitment to public service,” Kennedy says. “Now, having spent two decades in politics, my life is taking a new direction, and I will not be a candidate for reelection this year. Going forward, I will continue many of the fights we’ve waged together, particular on behalf of those suffering from depression, addiction, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Kennedy’s congressional tenure was marked by repeated substance abuse problems, including a drunk-driving incident in 2006. He entered a rehab facility at that time and again in 2009.
Kennedy is the 14th House Democrat to announce his retirement so far in this election cycle. Eighteen House Republicans have said they will leave Capitol Hill.
Speculation will be ripe but via Hot Air we see Kenndy's polling numbers were probably a huge factor in his decision.
* Majorities in every age demo give Kennedy either “fair” or “poor” job approval numbers
* Only 40% of women give him “excellent” or “good” ratings, with 57% negative
* 59% of union households rate him fair or poor
* Democrats approve of Kennedy 57%/40%, while independents show 25%/72%
* On ObamaCare, the overall mood of the state is significantly negative, 38%/50%
Democrats have watched the goodwill which swept them into the majorities of both the Huose and Senate as well as helped them take the White House in 2008, suffer at the hands of their own agenda, their push to socialize medicine with Obamacare against the majority of Americans wishes, the bailouts, the massive spending bills and backroom deals, bribes and payoffs for votes.
With the anti-Democratic sentiment being felt towards Washington today, perhaps Kennedy just decided to "get while the gettin is good".
Whatever the reason, it is an end of an era and one that should have ended long ago.