By Julie Weisberg
EAST HAVEN Conn. (Reuters) - Edward Kennedy, Jr., took a first step in following in the footsteps of his late father, the former U.S. Senator, on Tuesday when he won his first political campaign, for state senate in Connecticut.
A 53-year-old attorney captured attention for his family name, a storied liberal dynasty in U.S. politics, when he jumped into the race in April, facing off against Republican Bruce Wilson.
Former state Senator Edward Meyer, a Democrat who had held the office since 2005, said in March he would not seek re-election.
Kennedy continues in his family's left-leaning political footsteps, focusing his campaign on advocacy for those with disabilities and environmental protection issues.
Wilson provided a stark contrast, stating during a recent debate the most important issues facing Connecticut were the need to dismantle Common Core academic standards and improving the state's limp economy.
"I'm going to need your help, your ideas. We need to join together in our common journey to rebuild Connecticut," Kennedy told supporters Tuesday.
Kennedy follows his younger cousin, 34-year-old Joseph P. Kennedy III, who was elected as a U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts in 2012, in carrying on the family tradition in politics.
Kennedy's run was not without controversy.
In October, Wilson filed a complaint with the state election commission alleging that family members and friends made large contributions to the Democratic state central committee, with the party then violating campaign finance regulations by shifting that funding back down to Kennedy's campaign.
The Kennedy campaign and other Democratic officials have maintained, however, that the donation was a legal one — and allowed due to a change made last year in the state’s campaign finance laws.
The state election commission has opened up an investigation into the donation.
Kennedy's father, Edward M. Kennedy, represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate for 50 years up to his death in 2009.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Eric Walsh)