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Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) in 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore).

Swalwell raising money for Van Drew opponent

Ex-presidential candidate taking sides in race for Democratic House candidate in NJ-2

By NJ Globe Staff, September 07 2021 9:43 am

A California congressman who sought the Demcoratic presidential nomination in 2020 is raising money for a South Jersey lawyer seeking to unseat Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) in next year’s midterm elections.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) has endorsed Tim Alexander, a former prosecutor and civil rights attorney who has entered the race to take on Van Drew.

“Tim Alexander has what it takes to defeat this Trump-loyalist and stop Republicans from regaining the House majority,” Swalwell said. “But I need your help to get him there.”

While Alexander may well wind up the nominee, local Democrats have made no commitment to support him.  Many are waiting to see how the district is redrawn, or if the 2020 nominee, former public school teacher Amy Kennedy, runs again.

“This Congressman switched parties in 2019 to pledge his loyalty to Trump. He’s flip-flopped on almost every major political issue, including expanding voting rights and taking dark money out of politics,” Swalwell said.  “Then came Jan 6th, 2021. Even after Trump incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol, Jeff Van Drew voted against certifying the 2020 election and continues to embrace Trump’s Big Lie.”

Swalwell’ pitch is fairly common: he’s asking donors to split their contributions between him and Alexander as a way of using Van Drew as a means of boosting his own online fundraising.

“This competitive district is a glimpse of what the 2022 elections hold for Democrats, so we can’t afford to be complacent,” said Swalwell.

It’s not entirely clear how if New Jersey’s 2nd district will be competitive or not in the next election, since congressional redistricting is still in its infancy.

When Swalwell ran for president, he raised $2,904 from New Jersey donors – all but $250 from Mariusz Antonik, systems support manager at Conduent in Franklin.

The 40-year-old Swalwell  participated in one Democratic presidential debate in 2019 before diminished campaign funds forced his withdrawal from the race.

Two other Democrats are challenging Alexander for the Democratic nomination: Hector Tavarez, a former Egg Harbor Township school board member and retired police officer; and political newcomer Carolyn Rush.

The 2nd district is one of three that Donald Trump carried in 2020 – along with NJ-3, which is represented by a Democrat, Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and NJ-4, where Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) is serving his 20th term.  Trump defeated Joe Biden in NJ-2 by a 51%-48% margin.

Van Drew had $609,408 cash-on-hand as of his 2nd quarter filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Alexander reported raising just $59,772 in the 2nd quarter.  He’s raised a total of $105,841 since entering the race in January and has $43,485 in his campaign account.

Tavarez has raised $16,770 and has $8,640 in his warchest.   Rush has not reported any fundraising numbers since entering the race in May.

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