It’s like two ships passing in the night.
A South Jersey legislator who switched parties one year ago is now taking sides in a Democratic primary to pick a candidate to run against a congressman who switched parties last month.
State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) has endorsed Brigid Callahan Harrison for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district, along with Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro (D-Woolwich) and Cumberland County freeholder director Joe Derella.
Democrats are looking to pick a challenger to run against Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who had served with Addiego in the New Jersey Senate before his election to Congress in 2018. Addiego was a Republican and Van Drew a Democrat.
Addiego switched parties in January 2019 and Van Drew eleven months later.
“When I first met Brigid Harrison, it was immediately apparent that she was an amazing woman who cared deeply for South Jersey and the families who live here,” said Addiego. “I am glad she calls South Jersey home and thrilled to support her for Congress. We need someone in Washington who will put the people of South Jersey ahead of politics.”
Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University, has emerged as the early front runner for the Democratic nomination. She has the endorsements of Democratic county chairmen in six of the eight South Jersey counties in the district, as well as the American Federation of Teachers and Unite Here Local 54, which represents hotel and gaming employees in Atlantic City.
Addiego, whose legislative district includes several municipalities in the 2nd.
“As any working mother will tell you, the deck is often stacked against a woman who tries to balance family and career. Yet Brigid has managed to succeed at both. She is a great Mom who has also risen to be one of the most respected and trusted public policy minds in our state.”
Taliaferro slammed Van Drew in his endorsement of Harrison.
“It’s been a month since Jeff Van Drew sold his soul to the Trump Money Machine, in order to try and save his political career, and anger at his betrayal in South Jersey remains strong,” he said. “Many in our community have come up to me personally and shared the belief that our politics have failed us, and are looking for a hopeful voice who will be a strong advocate for us in Washington.”
According to Taliaferro, Harrison is genuine South Jersey.
“We all know Brigid, because she is one of us. She knows our neighborhoods and has remained invested and involved for many years. She is one of New Jersey’s top public policy experts and is running an amazing campaign,” said Taliaferro. “It is clear she is the only candidate to beat Jeff Van Drew in the general election and I am proud to be one of many who supports her for Congress.”
Derella, who backed Van Drew for Congress two years ago, said he finds Harrison “the most formidable candidate for the Democratic Party.”
“She is far ahead of anyone else in her ability to understand the concrete issues our area faces and she is capable of tackling these issues and representing our area,” Derella said.