BOSTON (CBS) – Senator John Kerry, along with the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy and other high profile democrats are throwing their support behind Congressman Ed Markey to take over Kerry’s senate seat if he is confirmed as Secretary of State.

Kerry issued a statement supporting Markey, who announced his candidacy this week.

“As Massachusetts’ senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey’s for 28 years, I’m excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate,” the statement said in part. “Ed’s one of the most experienced and capable legislators in the entire Congress and it would be an almost unprecedented occasion for such an accomplished legislator to join the Senate able to hit the ground running on every issue of importance to Massachusetts.”

Kerry also hailed Markey’s work in Congress on climate change, nuclear weapons issues and the environment.

In a separate statement, the Victoria Kennedy endorsed Markey, praising him as a great person to take over for Kerry.

“He has the experience and expertise to address the pressing economic issues facing our nation. He knows how to get things done,” Kennedy’s statement said. “Ed Markey is the right person for the job. He will be a superb Senator for Massachusetts.”

The national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also handed Markey its endorsement on Friday.

“Ed Markey has spent his career fighting for the people of Massachusetts. He has been a leader on some of the most important issues of our time and has repeatedly taken on the special interests in Washington,” US Senator Michael Bennet, chair of the DSCC said in a statement.

At least one possible contender in the democratic primary, Rep. Michael Capuano is responding to the news with criticism.

“It seems that the big names of our party are trying to choose our nominee for us,” Capuano said in a statement. “When I became Mayor of Somerville the establishment wasn’t with me. When I became a Member of Congress the establishment wasn’t with me. If I make this run it will be the same way- from the streets up, not from the elite down.”

Capuano has not announced whether he will run.

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