Amy Kennedy said that she was disappointed that six Democratic county chairmen decided to make an endorsement in the race for Congress against Rep. Jeff Van Drew without meeting with her and other potential candidates in New Jersey’s 2nd district.
“It really feels like steamrolling,” said Kennedy, who formed an exploratory committee on Monday. “This is how they wound up with Van Drew in the first place. It discounts what I bring to the table.”
Senate President Steve Sweeney and county chairs from Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem announced today that they were endorsing political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison.
Kennedy said she viewed the early endorsements for Harrison as an early test of her possible candidacy.
“I think this is a little pushback to see if we’ll be scared off,” Kennedy told the New Jersey Globe.
The race for the Democratic nomination has moved quickly since Van Drew’s party switch became public on Saturday.
Harrison, who had been considering a primary challenge, entered the race on Monday.
West Cape May Commissioner John Francis III said he is running and will formally announce in January.
Atlantic County freeholder Ashley Bennett is announcing her congressional bid at 10 AM on Friday.
The Atlantic County Democratic Chairman, Michael Suleiman, has not taken sides in the race to unseat Van Drew. Ocean County Democratic Chairman Wyatt Earp was also not part of the Harrison endorsement.
Kennedy, a former public school teacher and mother of five, comes from an Atlantic County political family. Her father, Jerry Savell, was an Atlantic County freeholder and served as a councilman in both Absecon and Pleasantville.
Her husband is Patrick J. Kennedy, a former seven-term congressman from Rhode Island and onetime Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman.
Kennedy said that she remains interested in running for the seat despite the party leadership endorsements for Harrison.
“We’re going to continue to explore and think about it through the holidays,” she said.