Robert Healey, Jr.., who is challenging Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in New Jersey’s 3rd district, and Nick De Gregorio, who is running against Rep. Josh Gottheimer in the 5th district, both intend to run despite changes to the congressional map that make both districts better for the Democratic incumbents, sources close to both campaigns told the New Jersey Globe.
Healey, a wealthy 38-year-old yacht manufacturer and yoga instructor who was once a punk rocker, launched his candidacy in November.
The new 3rd removes all of Ocean County from Kim’s district and creates one that includes all of Burlington, except for Palmyra and Maple Shade, and parts of Mercer and Monmouth. Kim would add all of Hamilton, Lawrence, East Windsor, Hightstown, and Robbinsville in Mercer, and Allentown, Englishtown, Freehold Borough, Holmdel, Manalapan, Marlboro, Millstone, Roosevelt, and parts of Marlboro and Freehold Township.
Kim loses heavily Republican Ocean County, and gains parts of Mercer County and inland Monmouth County instead. This turns a tightly contested district – Trump won it by 0.2 points in 2020 – into a Democratic blowout that Biden won by around 14 points. This also technically double-bunks Kim and Rep. Chris Smith, who lives in Hamilton Township, but Smith will have a solid Republican Ocean County district to run in instead and told the New Jersey Globe on Wednesday that he’s running in the district he’s represented for nearly 41 years.
Kim amassed a $2.7 million campaign warchest as of his October FEC filing.
De Gregorio, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, entered the race in November.
The new map likely helps De Gregorio in the short-term. Much of the political strength of his primary opponent, 2020 candidate Frank Pallotta, was in the now-deleted Sussex and Warren parts of the district.
Gottheimer, a three-term incumbent with more than $11 million in the bank, loses Warren County and shifts to be a more Bergen County-dominated district, gaining heavily Democratic municipalities like Fort Lee and Englewood. This pushes Biden’s 2020 margin to around 12 points, up from Biden+6 currently.
In Gottheimer’s 5th, Democrats added of eight Bergen County towns: Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Cresskill, Fort Lee, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Tenafly to Gottheimer’s districts, as well as the entirety of Teaneck, including the portions currently in the 9th. But the 5th will also lose Franklin Lakes, Lodi, Oakland, Rochelle Park and part of Maywood. Gottheimer’s district would no longer include any Warren County municipalities and the deletion of six Sussex towns –Andover Borough, Fredon, Green, Stillwater and Walpack. All of those would shift to the 7th. The 5th would keep West Milford and add Bloomindale and Wanaque in Passaic, but Ringwood would be dropped.