Senate President Steve Sweeney and six Democratic county chairmen have endorsed Brigid Callahan Harrison for Congress in the race to unseat Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew.
Harrison’s support comes from Cape May, Cumberland, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties.
“We are joining together in support of Brigid Harrison as the Democratic nominee for the 2nd District,” the seven Democrats said in a joint statement. “Brigid will be a strong candidate and a very effective member of Congress who will fight for the Democratic principles and priorities that will best serve the needs of the Congressional District, South Jersey, the State of New Jersey and the country.
Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University, announced her bid for Congress on Monday, two days after Van Drew informed staff members that he planned to switch to the GOP.
“Brigid has the innate skills, the political experience, the acquired knowledge and the personal commitment to public service that sets her apart. Brigid may be best known as an expert on state and national politics, but she is a ‘South Jersey Woman’ at heart,” the Democratic leaders said. “As a native and resident of South Jersey she possesses deep roots in the district and a genuine understanding of the challenges working people face in communities throughout the area.”
Two county chairmen from New Jersey’s 2nd district were not included on the letter: Michael Suleiman of Atlantic and Wyatt Earp of Ocean.
“We will give Brigid our full support to gain the party’s nomination and to win in a general election that is so important to the country’s future,” Sweeney and the county chairs said. “We’re going to fight for Brigid because we know she will fight for South Jersey and for the people of the 2nd district.”
The endorsement pointed to Harrison’s long times to South Jersey politics.
“Like many others who have succeeded in politics, Brigid was motivated at a young age by her father, John Callahan, who served as a councilman in Runnemede, and by her family’s commitment to the community,” the endorsement said. “She has maintained that commitment as she achieved so much as a respected teacher and political analyst.”
The Democratic county chairman backing Harrison are: Joseph Andl of Burlington, State Sen. James Beach of Camden, Brendan Sciarra of Cape May, Steven Errickson of Cumberland, State Sen. Fred Madden of Gloucester, and Steven Caltabiano 0f Salem.