House candidate Amy Kennedy invited her primary opponents to a unity event on the morning of President Donald Trump’s Wildwood rally.
“Yesterday, Donald Trump announced that he is coming to Wildwood at the end of this month for a rally with Jeff Van Drew who pledged his undying loyalty to Donald Trump instead of to the people of South Jersey who he was elected to represent,” Kennedy said in a letter to the other candidates. “Now, Trump is paying off that backroom deal with one of his patented rallies full of divisiveness and hate, right here in our backyard.”
Kennedy is one of five Democrats seeking the nod to take on Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who defected to the Republican party last month after losing support from local Democrats over his opposition to impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Political science professor Brigid Harrison, West Cape May Commissioner John Francis III, Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett and former Cory Booker aide William Cunningham are also seeking the nod.
It’s unclear whether Cunningham, who announced his bid on Wednesday, received an invitation.
Trump will hold a rally at the Wildwood Convention Center on Jan. 28.
“I believe people in New Jersey and around this country are sick and tired of back room deals and leaders who serve themselves instead of their communities,” Kennedy said. “That’s why I am organizing a counter event that shows Donald Trump and Jeff Van Drew what South Jersey is really about — not divisiveness, but unity. Not hurtful and selfish actions, but selfless actions that give back to our community.”
Harrison has emerged as an early frontrunner, winning endorsements from six of the district’s eight Democratic county chairs, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblymen John Armato and Vince Mazzeo.
Atlantic County Chairman Michael Suleiman and Ocean County Chairman Wyatt Earp have yet to endorse candidates.
Kennedy said all of the candidates will have a chance to speak at the unity event, which is expected to take place in or around Wildwood.
“I look forward to an honest, transparent primary that will ensure we all have the chance to make our case to the people of South Jersey,” she said. “Now is the time for us to come together and stand united against the Donald Trump/Jeff Van Drew right-wing hate machine.”