NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ted Kennedy Jr. invoked the memory of his famous father in announcing that he’s running for the state Senate in Connecticut.

The son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts said Tuesday evening he will seek the Democratic nomination for the 12th Senatorial District. The younger Kennedy said he would be a consensus-builder if elected.

The 52-year-old health care lawyer lives with his wife and two children in Branford, the heart of the district he hopes to serve. He has long been an advocate for the disabled after losing a leg to cancer as a child.

The district is represented by retiring Guilford Democrat Edward Meyer, a close friend of Kennedy’s who encouraged him to run for the seat.

“I started talking with him about succeeding me as state senator in Connecticut about a year ago and he was reluctant. But he is now accepting the challenge of a new elective office career,” Meyer said. “Ted Kennedy is really a treasure and will be a treasure, I think, in political and public life.”

The seat represents Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison and North Branford.

There are no other declared candidates, but Republicans have vowed to vigorously contest the seat.

Kennedy’s announcement drew hundreds of people who gave him standing ovations at the Blackstone Library in Branford.

He had been mentioned for John Kerry’s former seat in the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. But Kennedy, who runs a New York-based consulting firm, has chosen to enter politics in his home state of Connecticut.

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