Rep. Joe Kennedy's war to unseat Sen. Ed Markey in the Massachusetts Democratic Party primary has a new battle: New Balance sneakers against Nike sneakers.

When I first saw the TV ad by the Markey campaign with the tight shot on Senator Markey's Nike sneakers, I thought it was an odd use of screen time in a paid campaign ad in the expensive Massachusetts media market. I respect people who write and produce ads and the Nike prominence caused me to think and that is what a good ad does.

The Nike brand is the brand of Colin Kaepernick. Markey was signaling he is "woke" to Black Lives Matters with his sneakers.

Nike also uses slave labor in China to produce the sneakers they import into America. Nike also uses the communist gulag of Vietnam to make sneakers.

Scott Lang, the former mayor of New Bedford, sent me a Kennedy campaign ad over the weekend. The ad had a tight shot on the New Balance sneakers on the feet of a union official.

New Balance is a Massachusetts company and manufactures most of its sneakers in the United States of America.

The sneaker symbolism is having an impact. New Bedford City Councilor Hugh Dunn explained to me his position on the matter.

"Ever since Nike terminated their contract with Carter's Clothing, a great New Bedford local business, and countless other mom and pop shops, in favor of big-box stores, I have not purchased a single Nike item," he said. "It was an easy decision for me because I buy New Balance which is a Massachusetts, makes-in-America company."

The Kennedy ad features Myles Calvey, Business Manager of IBEW 2222 walking the streets of Malden in his American-made New Balance sneakers. As the union leader walks the streets of Sen. Markey's hometown, he explains how he believes Sen. Markey sold out the working people of Massachusetts in exchange for campaign contributions.

The Kennedy commercial mocks the earlier TV commercial made by the Markey campaign. Markey walks Malden in Chinese-made sneakers and Kennedy answers it with a local union official walking the same ground in American-made sneakers.

The working people in places like New Bedford, Fall River, Attleboro, and Brockton understand the difference between Nike and New Balance and they are looking for a senator who does, too.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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