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Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield). Photo courtesy of the Assembly Majority Office.

Mazzeo won’t challenge Van Drew in primary

Assemblyman keeps door slightly open if congressman doesn’t seek re-election

By David Wildstein, November 26 2019 11:06 am

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Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) says he is unlikely to challenge Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) in the 2020 Democratic primary for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district, but wouldn’t rule out running if Van Drew does not.

“Right now, I would probably say no,” Mazzeo told the New Jersey Globe.  “I just came off the Assembly race and I probably wouldn’t do it.  I’m all about working for the party.”

Van Drew has faced heavy criticism from leaders of his party for being one of just two House Democrats to vote against initiating an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

If he votes against impeachment, he is almost certain to draw a primary challenge when he seeks re-election next year.

Brigid Callahan Harrison, a political science professor with strong ties to the district, is mulling a potential congressional bid.

Van Drew is already facing a potentially general election campaign in a district that Donald Trump carried by five percentage points in 2016.

If Van Drew decides not to seek re-election to a second term, an open seat race could attract a larger field of candidates.

Mazzeo would not rule out running for Congress should Van Drew decide to retire.

“Seventy percent I wouldn’t do it, but I never say never,” Mazzeo said.

Mazzeo, 55, was re-elected to a fourth term in the Assembly earlier this month after serving as a councilman and mayor in Northfield.  He chairs the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

Despite trailing on the machine vote against Republicans John Risley and Phil Guenther, he wo re-election by by a solid 2,255 votes after vote-by-mail and provisional ballots were counted.

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