Securing yet another Kennedy seat in Congress, Joe Kennedy III swept the majority of the Fourth Congressional District’s vote on Tuesday to supporters’ cheers at his election night party.
Kennedy took about 61 percent of the vote to represent the district as of press time, which includes Brookline, and his Republican opponent Sean Bielat received about 36 percent.
The Harvard Law School graduate and former Peace Corps member addressed his supporters on Tuesday night in Newton, thanking his volunteers, predecessors and tireless campaign team.
“This is an incredible moment for me,” Kennedy said. “And I can’t think of a better way than to share it with all of you. Thank you.”
Kennedy’s campaign received 400 RSVPs from supporters and volunteers to the election night party at the Newton Marriott, said Anne Geraghty, Kennedy’s deputy press secretary.
While the victory might not come as a surprise to a number of voters, Kennedy faced a heavy offensive throughout the campaign from Bielat, who said Kennedy had a lack of qualifications and accused him of riding on his family’s name.
On election night, Kennedy’s family members filled the stage behind him. He praised them for their encouragement and support, and thanked them individually by name.
“As some of you may have noticed, I have a couple family members with me,” Kennedy said, as he referred to the full stage behind him, “who have been by my side before this campaign started and will be there long after it ends.”
Kennedy was not the only one to discuss his family.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank praised both Kennedy and his family in an interview with The Daily Free Press.
“He is going to be an excellent congressman,” Frank said. “He is bright and committed, and the fact that he has these family connections will make him very powerful for this district.”
Kennedy kept his acceptance speech short, expressing his gratitude and his readiness to start working.
“I hope you know that we are just getting started,” Kennedy said. “I am humbled, I am grateful and I am ready to get to work.”
Newton Mayor Setti Warren introduced Kennedy. Warren said he was a mentor to Kennedy and accompanied him along the campaign trail, “walking the streets” to connect with voters.
“Joe Kennedy listens to the needs of everyday people — the middle class, fire fighters and families — ensuring that in the next two years he would bring those resources home,” Warren said.
Bielat congratulated Kennedy on his win in a statement, and said both candidates ran strong campaigns.
“We may have lost this race, but every time a Republican puts up a strong race against the Democratic machine in Massachusetts, the voters benefit,” he said. “Each race encourages more people to get involved in politics, and that’s always good.”
Kennedy maintained through his campaign that his priority is to put the Fourth District back to work and invest in education, in an attempt to returning “basic fairness” to the system, according to a press release from Kennedy’s campaign, Joe Kennedy for Congress.
Kennedy has been a champion of women’s rights on the campaign trail, and received an endorsement from Planned Parenthood.
“One is protecting Roe v. Wade — women’s right to choose remains a fundamental issue of personal liberty. Two is making sure that equal work really mean equal pay and that’s really a family issue, an economic issue,” Kennedy said. “Making sure that people understand that we’re in 2012, this isn’t something we should be having a conversation about, but it is a reality.”
Rep. Michael Capuano, who represents the Eighth District but ran for the Seventh District after boundaries changed, took 84 percent of the vote.
In a statement on Mike Capuano’s website, Capuano thanked voters for their support.
“I appreciate every vote, and as Representative of Massachusetts’ Seventh Congressional District,” he said, “I will make sure that your voices are heard on Capitol Hill.”
Capuano ran against former Miss Boston pageant contestant Karla Romero, an Independent candidate and founding president and CEO of the charity Mass Appeal International.
Romero took 16 percent of the vote for the district, which includes Boston University.
The Boston Globe endorsed Kennedy on Oct. 24, and he garnered support from the Massachusetts Coalition of Police, Massachusetts Nurses Association, The Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts.
Over the course of the campaign, Kennedy held more than 200 campaign activities, meeting with voters throughout the Fourth District.
A number of Kennedy’s supporters finished the night watching the results of the other races.