Home>Campaigns>NJ State Building & Construction Trades drops Van Drew, endorses Kennedy in NJ-2

Congressional candidate Amy Kennedy. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

NJ State Building & Construction Trades drops Van Drew, endorses Kennedy in NJ-2

Kim, Malinowski pick up building trades endorsement in districts that backed their GOP opponents in 2018

By David Wildstein, July 28 2020 1:35 pm

The New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council has dropped their support of one congressman they endorsed in 2018, and have endorsed two House  incumbents whom they opposed two years ago.

The powerful building trades organization is backing Democrat Amy Kennedy in the 2nd district  They had supported Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) in 2018 when he ran as a Democrat, and had backed him in his past campaigns for the state legislature.

Van Drew switched parties late last year after refusing to back the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Freshmen Democratic Reps. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) were endorsed by the building and construction trades council.  In 2018, the group backed Republican incumbents Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River), who was ousted by Kim in the 3rd district, and Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township), who was unseated by Malinowski in the 7th.

“I’ve worked hard alongside them to fight for better wages and conditions, for keeping jobs right here in New Jersey, and for getting more local work opportunities on the Joint Base,” Kim said.  “We share a common commitment to support our veterans through efforts like the Helmets to Hardhats program, and I look forward to continuing this work together going forward.”

Malinowski also issued a statement touting the endorsement.

“I’ve fought since day one for fair wages, better labor standards, and expanded opportunities for all New Jersey workers,” he said.  “As we reopen our economy, it’s never been more important to ensure workers have a seat at the table and an advocate in Congress to guarantee their safety and security.”

Kim and Malinowski face competitive re-election bids and flipping the building and construction trades council is a net gain for both candidates.

Republican Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) was also endorsed for re-election to a 21st term in the 4th district.

“We believe our endorsements are especially important this year given the extremely disruptive and partisan political environment dividing the parties and the nation as a whole,” said Council President William Mullen. “This divide is making it virtually impossible to effectively deal with the very real problems confronting our nation, such as the need to grow the economy, revitalize our infrastructure, reform our immigration and trade policies, reshape our health care system, and reaffirm America’s position throughout the world.

In the 25th district special election, the building trades group endorsed State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham).

U.S. Senator Cory Booker was also endorsed by the NJ State Building & Construction Trades Council, along with Reps. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), Albio Sires (D-West New York), Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), Donald Payne (D-Newark), Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing).

“Our council’s endorsement of both Democratic and Republican candidates recognizes our commitment to this broad, non-partisan approach to solving our nation’s economic needs,” Mullen said. “It also recognizes the commitments these particular candidates have made to protect prevailing wage laws, the use of Project Labor Agreements, and a host of other workers’ rights initiatives.”

This story was updated at 2:05 PM with comment from Kim and at 5:13 PM with comment from Malinowski.

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