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Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama), center, with Barack and Michelle Obama.

Three possible Biden VP picks with N.J. ties

Florida congresswoman’s grandfather was Glassboro mayor

By David Wildstein, March 29 2020 8:53 pm

A long list of potential running mates for Joe Biden could include three women with ties to New Jersey, although none are considered leading candidates at this point.

Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) were on a list of possible vice presidential candidates mentioned by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) last week.  Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) also listed Sewell as someone Biden ought to consider.

Sewell lived in New Jersey from 1982 to 1986 while she was attending Princeton University.  She was a classmate of Michelle Obama, and then after attending Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, went to Harvard Law School with Barack Obama.  She’s been a congresswoman from a Selma-based district for ten years.

Spanberger lived in Red Bank until her family relocated to Virginia in 1992.  She investigated money laundering and illegal drug cases as a U.S. Postal Inspector before joining the Central Intelligence Agency.  She unseated a two-term incumbent to end a 38-year GOP hold on her Richmond-based congressional district in 2018.

Another swing-state candidate Biden could look at is Rep. Kathy Castor, a seven-term congresswoman from the Tampa area who chairs the new House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Castor  is the granddaughter of the Joseph L. Bowe, who served as mayor of Glassboro from 1959 until his death in 1967.  Bowe died of cancer at age 50, just hours before President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin met for a summit at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University).

Her mother, Betty Castor, was one of the mayor’s five children.  She moved to Florida in the mid-1960s, became active in local politics, won races for county commissioner and state senator, and served as state Education Commissioner.  Betty Castor was the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in 2004, losing to Republican Mel Martinez by a narrow 49,4%-48.3% margin.

Bowe, a Democrat, was elected mayor in 1958 by 916 votes, a 59%-31% margin.  He defeated Council President Joseph Lisa, who had beaten incumbent mayor Charles Boyd in the Republican primary by 137 votes.  Boyd ran as a write-in in the general election.

In those days, Glassboro was a Republican stronghold.  Democrats won three council seats to break the all-GOP majority in 1957.

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