An endorsement of Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) by the state’s largest teacher’s union has drawn the wrath of Republican challenger Ian Smith, the South Jersey gym owner who received national attention for his opposition to Gov. Phil Murphy’s mask mandates.
“The NJEA was happy to march in lockstep with Murphy and fought to the bitter end to keep masks on kids,” said Smith. “The NJEA, like Andy Kim and Phil Murphy, love their mandates. To them, it was always about power and no one cared what school shutdowns and masks were doing to our children.”
The New Jersey Education Association has endorsed Kim and eight other Democratic House incumbents seeking re-election in the 2022 mid-term elections.
Smith is seeking to closely tie Kim to Murphy. After redistricting, Murphy received 50.7% of the vote in the newly-drawn 3rd district in the 2021 gubernatorial election.
“The officers of the NJEA were quick to attack former state Senate President Steve Sweeney in January for being ‘unwilling to include an extension to the mask mandate’ and then, only a month later were proud to stand with Murphy and expressed their optimism that ‘the mask mandate can be safely relaxed in the near future,” Smith stated.
Smith said that he has “always followed credible science and stood with parents during the pandemic.”
“Congratulations to Andy Kim on his endorsement from the hyper-partisan NJEA and showing us all that he is just as beholden to Phil Murphy as the officers of the NJEA,” said Smith.
Smith faces Robert Healey, Jr., the owner of a shipbuilding company, in the Republican primary for the chance to take on Kim, a two-term incumbent.