Democrat Amy Kennedy Wins Primary to Face Van Drew in November
(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Democrats picked educator Amy Kennedy to challenge party-switching Representative Jeff Van Drew in November.
Kennedy was declared the winner by the Associated Press on Tuesday night over Montclair State University Professor Brigid Callahan Harrison and former House staff member Will Cunningham in the race to take on Van Drew to represent New Jersey’s 2nd District.
The general election contest will be watched closely by both parties. Van Drew, a dentist who was elected in 2018 as a Democrat in a district won by President Donald Trump, switched to the GOP after voting against Trump’s impeachment. He has pledging his “undying support” for the president.
Senator Cory Booker easily won the Democratic primary for Senate, the AP reported.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won his primary in New Jersey, as expected, as well as the primary in his home state of Delaware.
Progressive challengers fell short in several races against moderate Democrats. In the 8th District, Albio Sires prevailed over Hector Oseguera, a lawyer who volunteered on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 campaign. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone won his 6th District race against a progressive challenger, as did Donald Payne in the 10th District.
Republican Tom Kean Jr., a state senator and namesake son of a former governor, will face first-term Representative Tom Malinowski in the 7th District. Freshman Democrat Mikie Sherrill will face Rosemary Becchi, a tax policy lawyer who formerly worked for the Senate Finance Committee. Freshman Representative Andy Kim will likely face David Richter, an engineer and lawyer, who is leading in his primary against Kate Gibbs, a former elected freeholder in Burlington County.
The New Jersey primary, which was postponed from June 2 because of Covid-19, was conducted mostly by mail. Results in some races may not be known for days.
In addition to being a battleground in November, New Jersey’s 2nd District, which stretches along the entire southern tier of the state, was the venue for an intraparty fight among Democrats.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, had endorsed Kennedy, who’s married to former Rhode Island Democratic Representative Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Booker and the state’s other Democratic senator, Bob Menendez, supported Harrison. New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, often at odds with Murphy, had also endorsed Harrison.
Van Drew won his primary against Robert Patterson, who was acting associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration earlier in Trump’s presidency. Patterson had attacked Van Drew, who was backed by Trump, as insufficiently conservative, citing his votes as a Democrat against the Trump administration on immigration, guns, health care and climate change.
With the general election ballot now known, both parties wasted no time drawing contrasts between the primary victors in the 2nd District. Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Kennedy “has demonstrated throughout her campaign that the only thing she is running on is her last name and that’s just not going to fly with voters.”
Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, who leads the campaign organization for House Democrats, said Van Drew had “betrayed South Jersey voters in a flailing attempt to advance his own political career and hurt the community that trusted him in the process.”
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