Harrison and Kennedy

Longport’s Brigid Callahan Harrison, left, and Brigantine’s Amy Kennedy are in a hard-fought primary battle to run against U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd, in November.

It’s the most interesting and exciting Democratic congressional primary in the region in decades, but the race to see who will challenge U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd, has been overshadowed by events.

With a pandemic raging, an electorate in lockdown and often unemployed, candidates have had to give up in-person meetings, speeches and fundraisers. Instead, they have focused on online communication, as they have released policy statements and endorsements.

Brigantine’s Amy Kennedy in the past week or so released her health care policy and a Workers’ Bill of Rights, sparred with Republicans as she called on Van Drew to vote for the HEROES Act in the House, and announced endorsements by the National Education Association and Atlantic City mayoral candidate Pamela Thomas-Fields.

The $3 trillion Heroes Act passed the House without Van Drew’s support, as he said it included too much spending not related to the COVID-19 crisis. It is not expected to pass the Senate.

The Atlantic City Democratic Committee, which has strong ties to the Atlantic City and Pleasantville Democratic power broker Craig Callaway, has endorsed both Thomas-Fields and Kennedy.

Cummings connection

Vineland’s Will Cunningham had an online discussion with Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of the late Chairman Elijah Cummings, who is now running for her husband’s seat in Congress from Maryland.

Cunningham worked for Cummings while a staffer on the House Oversight Committee.

They talked about Cummings’ legacy, which Cunningham said “will live on in his desire to bring new voices like mine and Maya’s to Congress.”

Cunningham said he had Cummings’ endorsement when he ran against Van Drew in the Democratic primary in 2018. Van Drew switched parties in December 2019.

Cunningham also announced the endorsement of Youth Climate Strike US, which was created with the help of global teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

Callaway connection

Longport’s Brigid Callahan Harrison continued to question Kennedy’s ties to Callaway and to get endorsements from leading state figures — many of whom do not live in the district.

This week she announced the support of Frank N. von Hippel, a professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, who served as chairman of the Federation of American Scientists at the height of the Cold War from 1983-1991; The Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director of the Princeton, NJ-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) since 1981; and Dolores A. Phillips, the legislative director for CeaseFire NJ, a gun violence prevention group.

Help for individuals

Brigantine’s Robert Turkavage recently released a statement on actions he would take to put cash in the hands of individuals and businesses most impacted by the loss of employment/business income, while limiting negative consequences from the late payment of bills.

Among other things, Turkavage, a retired FBI agent, recommends suspending collection of federal and state gasoline taxes during the period of the National Emergency, and passing a National Emergency Federal Child Care Tax Credit (not deduction), which would allow individuals to recoup child care costs due to the crisis.

Contact: 609-272-7219


Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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