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Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro (D-Woolwich) will not run for Congress next year, either in the Democratic primary against Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) or for an open seat if Van Drew decides not to seek a second term.
“As of right now, I have no interest in running for Congress. My focus is on the 3rd (legislative district),” Taliaferro told the New Jersey Globe today.
Van Drew appears headed for a fight to win the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 2nd district after being just one of two House Democrats to oppose an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Multiple sources have told the Globe that Van Drew is in danger of losing organization lines in at least Atlantic and Cumberland counties if he opposes any attempt by the U.S. House of Representatives to move ahead on impeachment.
One well-known New Jersey political personality, Montclair University political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison, is already considering a run for Congress against Van Drew in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Harrison has a network of political contacts statewide and in Atlantic County, where she ran a strong race for freeholder and held a Democratic Party leadership post in the early 1990s before pursuing an academic career.
Van Drew could buckle and support impeachment, or he could stick to his guns and risk losing a primary.
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) said today that he was unlikely to take on the freshman congressman in the primary, but wouldn’t rule out running for an open seat if Van Drew opts out.
Taliaferro, re-elected to a fourth term in the State Assembly on November 5, is widely viewed as a rising star in South Jersey politics and has a compelling life story.
As a Penn State football player, Taliaferro suffered a serious spinal cord injury during a game against Ohio State and was told that he would likely never walk again. After eight months of rehabilitation, he defied those odds.
Since his recovery, Taliaferro went to law school and started a foundation to help victims of spina cord injuries.
Taliaferro is the chairman of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and the Deputy Majority Leader.