Attorney and former congressional committee staff member Rosemary Becchi has opted out of a Republican primary fight against state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District and will now switch her campaign to challenging freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair/Morristown) in the neighboring 11th CD.
Certainly, the move gives Ms. Becchi a better chance of advancing to the general election and, arguably, the 11th District is actually more favorable to a Republican candidate, but Ms. Sherrill proved to be one of the strongest 2018 open seat candidates, nationally. The move is undoubtedly a good move for the party, since it will now give Republicans two strong candidates in previous GOP districts that were lost in 2018. Whether the move ultimately benefits Ms. Becchi remains to be seen.
It appears the New Jersey Republican Party is getting ready to formally back party-switching Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis Township/Atlantic City). GOP state chairman Doug Steinhardt issued a statement yesterday saying, “he’s the incumbent Congressman and we’re here to be supportive…that’s our job, that’s what we do.” Mr. Van Drew left the Democratic Party after opposing President Trump’s impeachment. Three Republicans are in the primary campaign including self-funding contender David Richter.
Acknowledging his path to victory for the Democratic nomination has failed to materialize and with trouble qualifying as a future debate participant, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has ended his presidential quest. He will now concentrate on winning a second term as New Jersey’s junior Senator as he stands for re-election later this year. Sen. Booker never was able to steer his campaign past low single digit polling and looked to fare poorly in the First Four states whose electorates will cast their ballots throughout February.
Amy Kennedy, wife of former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D), announced that she will enter the Democratic primary to challenge new Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis Township/ Atlantic City). Ms. Kennedy grew up in the district and her father, Jerry Sevell, was an Atlantic County Freeholder. The Democratic field against the party-switching Congressman is expected to be large. Four other Democrats, including Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett, have already announced their candidacies.
Now saying that he hasn’t yet fully made up his mind to jump into the Republican Party, New Jersey freshman Congressman Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township) looks to face major political trouble no matter what he ultimately decides.
Confirming that he will remain in the Republican primary is venture capitalist David Richter, who will self-fund to the tune of at least $1 million. Four Democrats have already jumped into the race, three just yesterday joining college professor Brigid Callahan Harrison in the candidate field. They are: Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett, West Cape May Commissioner John Francis, and educator Amy Kennedy, the wife of former Rhode Island US Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
At this early stage of what will still likely be his party switching process, Rep. Van Drew appears to be stumbling out of the gate, and this will lead to both a highly competitive primary and general election campaign.
It is now clear that New Jersey freshman Congressman Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township) will leave the Democratic Party and join the Republicans. Mr. Van Drew’s opposition to impeaching President Trump has led to him breaking from the party with which he has been associated his entire adult life and in elective office since 2002.
The going may not be easy in his new party, however. Venture capitalist David Richter says that not only will he continue with his campaign for the Republican congressional nomination, but he will spend $1 million of his own money to deny Rep. Van Drew the party nod. Democratic college professor Brigid Callahan Harrison immediately announced her candidacy for the now open party nomination and others are expected to follow since the Congressman’s decision to change parties has been made.
The 2nd District leans Republican. President Trump carried the seat 51-46%. Until Mr. Van Drew converted the district for the Democrats last year, Republican Frank LoBiondo held the congressional seat for the previous 22 years and averaged victory percentages in the high 50s.
Reports are swirling that freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township) is in the process of making plans to switch to the Republican Party after meeting with President Trump. Mr. Van Drew was one of two Democrats who opposed the impeachment inquiry and says he will not support the impeachment vote on the House floor.
Several Democrats were looking to launch a primary challenge to signal opposition to his impeachment stand, but now the 2nd District 2020 campaign could look very different if Mr. Van Drew becomes a Republican. The Congressman, formerly a veteran state legislator, captured 53% of the vote in converting this seat to the Democrats in 2018 for the first time since 1992. President Trump carried the Atlantic City anchored district with a 51-46% spread.
Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township/Atlantic City), who is one of two Democrats not to support the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, is getting closer to having defend himself in a Democratic primary.
West Cape May Commissioner John Francis confirms he is seriously considering launching a campaign against the new Congressman, though his small community provides him a diminutive political base. Additionally, since this seat was in Republican hands since 1994 to the 2018 election, Rep. Van Drew can also expect serious GOP competition. The New Jersey candidate filing deadline is March 30th for the June 2nd primary.
Republicans scored a recruitment victory as ex-Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs, who lost her re-election campaign in November to a lesser candidate, announced that she will challenge freshman Rep. Andy Kim (D-Bordentown). Last November, Mr. Kim unseated then-Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) in a very close election (50.0-48.7%). Because the district’s nature is typically Republican, we can count on this being a top tier GOP challenge race next year.
A total of 219 House Democrats and one Independent have signed the petition pledge indicating they will vote for at least some version of an impeachment resolution. Doing so would impeach, or indict, the President, and send the charge to the Senate for a potential trial and motion to remove from office. Among the signers are several members who have competitive re-elections, are in Trump districts, or have primary competition. The lone Independent, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), will likely face attacks from both sides as he presumably seeks re-election as an Independent or minor party nominee.
The Democrats supporting impeachment who already face credible general election opposition are (listed alphabetically by name) Reps: Cindy Axne (IA), Gil Cisneros (CA), Sharice Davids (KS), Antonio Delgado (NY), Abby Finkenauer (IA), Lizzie Fletcher (TX), Andy Kim (NJ), Susie Lee (NV), Elaine Luria (VA), Tom Malinowski (NJ), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL), Chris Pappas (NH), Katie Porter (CA), Harley Rouda (CA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Abigail Spanberger (VA), and Lauren Underwood (IL).
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