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Gov. Murphy endorses Amy Kennedy on eve of congressional debate
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Gov. Murphy endorses Amy Kennedy on eve of congressional debate

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Gov. Phil Murphy endorsed Brigantine’s Amy Kennedy for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd congressional district race Wednesday, on the eve of a debate between the top three Democrats in the race.

Her strongest opponent, Longport's Brigid Harrison, is backed by State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and Democratic powerbroker George Norcross of Camden, both of which have sparred with Murphy in the past.

"South Jersey needs strong and compassionate leaders with integrity and commitment to community. As a former public school teacher and mental health advocate, Amy Kennedy is just the type of leader who'll bring progressive change to South Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

"I am so honored to have the endorsement of Governor Phil Murphy," Kennedy said Wednesday.

Kennedy said Murphy's commitment to environmental protections, justice and education will provide new jobs across the state.

"My family has lived in South Jersey for four generations and I understand the struggles that our families and our communities are facing," Kennedy said. "We need leaders who are committed to serving our community and not themselves."

"The governor promised to stay out of the race," Harrision said. "But we have known Tammy Murphy has been making phone calls on Amy's behalf. It is what it is."

Harrison said about half of the ballots have probably already been cast in the race, so it is interesting the governor would choose to make his endorsement so late in the process.

The mostly-vote-by mail election is officially being held July 7, but ballots went out a couple of weeks ago and many have already been cast. 

Harrison, Kennedy and Will Cunningham, of Vineland, will debate Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in an online event run by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University. Links to the debate are on the center's website.

Murphy said Kennedy understands the importance of making health care more affordable, expanding mental health services, and fixing a broken political system.

"I'm thrilled to endorse her candidacy and know she'll be a strong voice for South Jersey in Congress," Murphy said.

The winner of the July 7 primary will face the winner of the Republican primary, who is expected to be incumbent Congressman Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd. Van Drew was elected as a Democrat in 2018, and changed parties in December 2019 after voting against impeaching President Donald Trump.

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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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