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Democratic congressional candidate Tim Alexander. (Photo: Tim Alexander for Congress.)

Ex-detective, prosecutor enters race to challenge Van Drew

Galloway resident Tim Alexander is first to announce bid for Democratic congressional nomination in NJ-2

By David Wildstein, March 10 2021 9:55 am

Tim Alexander, a South Jersey civil rights lawyer and former detective and prosecutor, has entered the race to take on Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) In New Jersey’s 2nd district in 2022.

“I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to serving this community as a law enforcement officer, a prosecutor, and now a civil rights attorney,” Alexander said.  “When Jeff Van Drew switched parties after being elected and pledged his undying loyalty to President Trump and the Republican party instead of this community – I could not sit on the sidelines any longer.”

The Galloway resident worked for the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office as a detective running the criminal investigation section.  He later went to law school and became an Assistant Philadelphia District Attorney. Alexander worked in the civil rights division of the Philadelphia Solicitor’s Office before joining a South Jersey law firm.

“We need new leaders focused on leadership, not partisan politics,” said Alexander.  “Leaders that will fight for individual rights promote justice and equality and empower economic innovation.”

Van Drew is expected to seek re-election next year.  He won an open House seat in 2018 as a Democrat after serving 17 years in the state legislature.  After refusing to support the impeachment of Donald Trump, Van Drew switched parties and was re-elected as a Republican last year.

The New Jersey Demcoratic State Committee has already targeted Van Drew for defeat next year.  They launched a new website, Traitor Jeff Van Drew, to set up an organization until the party picks their nominee.

Avelenda slammed Van Drew for voting against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, opposing Trump’s impeachment, and voting no on a move to strip controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) of her committee assignments after espousing conspiracy theories.

A first-time candidate, Alexander says his personal story will help him connect with voters.

“My life experience is like so many others in South Jersey.  I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, to work through sleepless nights with my wife, trying to figure out how to pay for our children’s education and medical care,” Alexander said.  “And even as an African American law enforcement officer, I’ve experienced firsthand being harassed, shot at, assaulted, and falsely accused by police.”

Alexander has hired 76 Words, a major Democratic political consulting firm that worked for Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Chuy Garcia, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

“Alexander represents a fresh face and the potential for a strong, credible challenge to Van Drew,” said Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.  “With so many different counties in CD2, you always look for congressional candidates who can appeal to voters beyond their home county.  You could see Alexander resonating in the mainland shore communities as well as among law enforcement families across the district, given that he is one of their own.”

Rasmussen says that a Alexander could help increase voter turnout in communities of color  in next year’s mid-term elections.

“In the many communities in CD2 with considerable minority voters, such as Atlantic City, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton and parts of Salem County, you could see potential of strong enthusiasm for a candidate with a lifelong commitment to civil rights,” Rasmussen said.

Alexander said that he knows “how tough economic times impact lives and communities.”

“I’ve lived it firsthand and seen it as a detective, a civil rights leader, and a father,” he said.  “Right now, the people of South Jersey deserve someone who’s on their side, regardless of party, who will work tirelessly to bring them jobs and opportunities – not politically motivated Washington DC obstructionist.”

March announcements are rare, since Alexander will be required to file a first quarter fundraising report with the Federal Election Commission, unless he’s already produced a bug fundraising haul.

Van Drew was a Democratic officeholder from 1991 until his 2019 party switch.

Trump and New Jersey Republicans helped Van Drew secure the GOP nomination. He won re-election to a second term in 2020 with 52% of the vote against Democrat Amy Kennedy.

“My loyalty is and always will be with the people and communities of South Jersey and making life better for all of us,” Alexander said.  “That’s why I’m running for Congress.”

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