Ocean City Councilman Bob Barr, who has cerebral palsy and campaigns door-to-door in a wheelchair, says he will run for State Assembly in a special election early next year.
Barr expects Assemblyman Robert Andrzejczak (D-Middle) to move up to the State Senate next month after Jeff Van Drew takes his seat in Congress. If that happens, the 37-year-old Democrat will compete at a special election convention to fill Andrzejczak’s Assembly seat.
“I’m a relentless worker,” Barr told the New Jersey Globe. “I’ve been making calls. I believe I can do well.”
Barr won a 4th ward city council seat in a May 2016 non-partisan election and says he knocked on more than 3,000 doors from his wheelchair.
He says he is the fourth registered Democrat to win local office in Ocean County history.
Barr expects strong support from Republicans in Cape May County as a candidate for a two-year term in November 2019.
“I’ve built bi-partisan relationships my whole life,” he said.
Barr has spent fifteen years as an unpaid legislative aide to Van Drew, serves as a commissioner of the Pinelands Commission, and as a member of the Ocean City Housing Authority. He is a former Ocean City Democratic Club president.
Despite his longtime relationship with Van Drew, Barr says he has not discussed his campaign with the congressman-elect.
“I want to get this thing on my own merits,” Barr said.
Two candidates appear to be emerging out of Cumberland County: Matthew Milam, a former assemblyman whose 2013 resignation for personal reasons triggered Andrzejczak’s election; and James Quinn, a former Millville mayor who was re-elected to his second term as freeholder last month.
When all seats are filled, Cape May has 254 county committee seats, while Cumberland has 184. An additional six seats come from Atlantic County.
The other assemblyman from the 1st district, Bruce Land, is from Cumberland County.