The Philadelphia Inquirer has endorsed Republican Kate Gibbs and Democrat Will Cunningham in two of New Jersey’s most competitive congressional primaries being held tomorrow.
“Gibbs is a mainstream Republican more in sync with her politically diverse district. Gibbs is savvy, yet her down-to-earth manner has served her well while explaining that her arrests for shoplifting, marijuana possession, and beer on the beach were little more than a young person’s misadventures. We take Gibbs at her word when she claims to have learned from her mistakes.
Gibbs races David Richter, who ran one of the nation’s largest construction companies, in the Republican primary in the 3rd district. They want to challenge freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in the general election.
The editorial called Richter a “cheerleader for President Donald Trump,” a line that had the endorsement come out sooner might have been used extensively in ads in a district where Trump is likely popular among Republican primary voters, especially in Ocean County.
Cunningham, a former chief investigator for the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was the choice of the Inquirer over two candidates with all of the organization support: Brigid Callahan Harrison and Amy Kennedy.
In the Inquirer cited Cunningham’s Washington experience and his life story.
“We like Cunningham’s support for bold criminal justice reform. Cunningham’s is an inspiring life story — homeless while a Vineland High School student, he earned a Brown University scholarship. His is a generation whose time has come,” The endorsement stated.
The Inquirer editorial board said they respected Harrison, but insinuated that they couldn’t support her because the South Jersey Democratic machine does.
Amy Kennedy, the Inquirer said, , “has a famous political name, but little political experience.”
No sides were taken in the 2nd district primary, where Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) faces former Trump administration official Robert Patterson in the Republican Party.
They said Patterson declined to meet with the editorial board, and noted that Van Drew “owes New Jersey an apology” for switching parties.
In March, just days before the Atlantic County Democratic convention that Kennedy won decisively, the Star-Ledger endorsed Harrison.
That was unusual, since the Star-Ledger’s circulation does not go as far south as the 2nd district.
“We wanted to have influence on the Atlantic County convention on Sunday,” editorial page editor Tom Moran told the Globe in an email responding to questions.