Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), whose congressional district lies directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, crossed that watery boundary today by endorsing former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym in the city’s May 16 Democratic mayoral primary.
“I support Helen because she embodies that sentiment that engagement matters, and she has inspired many people to roll up their sleeves,” Kim said in a statement shared by Gym on Twitter. “Helen represents a new generation of AAPI leaders that are focused on building coalitions and strengthening communities and I’m excited to see what more she can do for the people of Philadelphia.”
Kim and Gym are two of the most prominent Asian American elected officials from the Philadelphia area; Kim is New Jersey’s first-ever (and still only) Asian American congressman, while Gym would be Philadelphia’s first Asian American mayor if she wins.
Kim’s endorsement seemingly makes him the first major New Jersey politician to take a public stance on the race, but according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the South Jersey Democratic machine is pulling for a different candidate behind the scenes.
Last month, the Inquirer reported that former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker hosted a mayoral fundraiser that was attended by former New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen, former Camden Mayor Dana Redd, and Camden County Commissioner Jeffrey Nash. All four are loyal allies of South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross, who has been known to involve himself in Philadelphia mayoral primaries.