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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Murphy will endorse Kennedy for Congress

Democratic governor takes sides in primary to pick Van Drew opponent

By David Wildstein, June 24 2020 3:26 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy is planning to endorse Amy Kennedy for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Murphy’s endorsement comes two weeks after he said he would not take sides in a heated primary battle to pick an opponent for Rep. Jeff Van Drew.

Kennedy is battling Brigid Callahan Harrison and three other candidates for the seat Democrats flipped in 2018, only to lose it a year later when Van Drew switched parties and announced that he would seek re-election as a Republican.

Harrison has the backing of some of Murphy’s political rivals, including Senate President Steve Sweeney and six South Jersey Democratic party organizations.

The endorsement puts Murphy on the opposite side of U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, who are backing Harrison, but on the same side as the Atlantic County Democratic organization that is backing Kennedy.

Former congressional staff Will Cunningham, retired FBI agent Robert Turkavage and West Cape May Commissioner John Francis III are also seeking the Democratic nomination.  Van Drew faces a primary challenge from Robert Patterson, a former Trump administration official.

Update: “South Jersey needs strong and compassionate leaders with integrity and commitment to community. As a former public school teacher and mental health advocate, Amy Kennedy is just the type of leader who’ll bring progressive change to South Jersey,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.  “She understands the importance of making health care more affordable, expanding mental health services, and fixing our broken political system. I’m thrilled to endorse her candidacy and know she’ll be a strong voice for South Jersey in Congress.”

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