The state’s largest law enforcement union has endorsed President Donald Trump for re-election and is backing just five Republican candidates for Congress, eschewing U.S. Senator Cory Booker and nine incumbent Democratic House members in the November general election.
The announcement follows Trump’s endorsement by the New York City PBA on Friday and comes as leading Democrats have called for defunding local police departments.
The New Jersey State Policeman’s Benevolent Association (PBA) is supporting incumbents Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) and Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton), as well as two challengers.
The PBA is backing David Richter over Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in the 3rd, Thomas Kean, Jr. over Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the 7th, and Rosemary Becchi against Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in the 11th. The group backed Tom MacArthur and Leonard Lance for re-election in 2018 against Kim Malinowski, respectively, but also endorsed Sherrill in the 11th district.
“I’m grateful for the endorsement of the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association,” said Kean. “This organization represents the men and women who protect our families and communities and put their lives on the line day in and day out across New Jersey.”
Richter pledged to defend the interests of police officers as a congressman.
“At a time when Democrats are calling to defund the very men and women who keep our communities safe, our campaign has chosen to stand beside them and make our support for men and women in blue very clear,” Richter said. “As your next congressman, I will always defend our law enforcement community and that starts by protecting qualified immunity which ensures that criminals cannot sue cops simply for doing their job.”
No candidates received New Jersey PBA support in the other eight congressional districts.
The police union is also supporting State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) in special elections in the 25th legislative district.
This story was updated at 3:54 PM with comment from Kean and at 4:05 PM with comment from Richter.