The New Jersey State Firefighters Benevolent Association today endorsed challengers against incumbent congressmen in two of New Jersey’s most competitive House races, backing Republican Tom Kean, Jr. in the 7th district and Democrat Amy Kennedy in the 2nd.
The move represents a flip of support from the firefighters in two districts: in 2018, they union endorsed Tom Malinowski in his successful 7th district race against incumbent Leonard Lance, and Jeff Van Drew, then a Democrat, in the 2nd.
The decision to switch from Malinowski to Kean was a result of Kean’s longtime backing of NJFMBLA issues during his tenure in the New Jersey Legislature. Kean, the State Senate minority leader, is a former volunteer firefighter.
“Jeff Van Drew has been wishy-washy with his party affiliation, a trait that has carried into his role as a legislator. The FMBA never quite knows where he stands. Amy Kennedy, on the other hand, has shown us that she is going to be a solid and consistent supporter of New Jersey’s career firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers,” said NJFMBA Eddie Donnelly.
The politically influential union, which counts more than 5,000 members, is backing Reps. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) for re-election.
The firefighters union also endorsed U.S. Senator Cory Booker and seven other incumbent House members: Donald Norcross (D-Camden), Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton), Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), Albio Sires (D-West New York), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Donald Payne (D-Newark) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing).
“Each of these endorsed candidates have shown that when times are tough they are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with New Jersey’s career firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers,” Donnelly said. “The onslaught of COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to first responders, and while I am hopeful that we are on a road to recovery there is no question that the road is a bumpy one.”
Kean, is challenging Malinowski. Kennedy is taking on Van Drew.
It’s critical that we know that New Jersey’s representatives in Washington, D.C. are unwavering in their support for our efforts to keep our communities safe and healthy.