Ramping up a line of attack his campaign has been using for weeks, 3rd district Republican nominee Bob Healey today called on his opponent, Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), to leave the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).
“Today I challenge my opponent to do something he should have done long ago and give up his membership in the most radical group in Congress – the House Progressive Caucus,” Healey said in a statement. “If Andy Kim was truly moderate in his views he would resign immediately from this radical group.”
The caucus, which is made up of 99 House members and one senator, is the largest collection of progressives in Congress, though the individual views of its members vary significantly. Healey has repeatedly made Kim’s membership in the group a campaign issue, tying the soft-spoken congressman to more famous left-wing caucus members like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).
The Kim campaign declined to comment.
On Monday, 30 House members – including two New Jersey representatives, Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) and Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) – signed onto a letter led by CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal that called for President Joe Biden to pursue diplomacy with Russia in Ukraine. The letter was roundly criticized and later withdrawn; in his statement today, Healey connected the controversy to Kim, who had not signed the letter.
“The caucus’ half-baked advice to the president was so roundly rejected by other Democrats that the caucus chair withdrew the letter a day later,” Healey said. “Is it any wonder that most of Andy Kim’s fellow NJ congressional colleagues want nothing to do with the Progressive Caucus?”
The CPC counts four New Jerseyans as members: Kim, Watson Coleman, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch). Payne, meanwhile, isn’t officially listed as a member, but he was endorsed by Jayapal in his successful primary campaign earlier this year and was among the signatories of Monday’s letter.
Among New Jersey’s CPC members, Kim stands out for representing a swing district, whereas the others are all from solidly Democratic territory. None of New Jersey’s other swing-district Democrats – Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) – are CPC members, and in fact Gottheimer and Sherrill are both part of the explicitly moderate Blue Dog Caucus instead.