Thursday night's Internet debate between the top three candidates in the 2nd congressional district's Democratic primary will start at 6 p.m. and can be viewed through links on the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University web page.

John Froonjian, executive director of the center, will moderate the debate, and links will be available Thursday at stockton.edu/hughes-center. It will also be livestreamed on youtube.com/.

Will Cunningham, Brigid Callahan Harrison and Amy Kennedy were chosen out of a remaining field of five still in the race, because they raised and spent enough money to have to file a first-quarter campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission, Froonjian said.

They are in a contest to see who will be the Democrat to challenge U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd. Van Drew switched parties to Republican late last year in a controversial move that lit a fire under the Democrats he had left behind.

Van Drew’s GOP opponent Bob Patterson, who recently changed his permanent address to Ocean City, does not have much organizational support or campaign funding and is widely considered not much of a threat to the incumbent freshman.

On Wednesday Gov. Phil Murphy announced his endorsement of Kennedy, who is also backed by Atlantic County and Atlantic City Democratic committees. Kennedy also has the backing of the state workers in the Communication Workers of America, which represents many state workers, and the New Jersey Education Association.

Harrison, a professor of politics and law at Montclair State University, is backed by the county chairman in six of the eight counties in the district. The Longport resident also has the support of State Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, who often spars with Murphy, and U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, along with Atlantic County Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, both D-Atlantic.

Cunningham, of Vineland, is backed by a variety of progressive groups. He left a job with the House Oversight Committee in Washington, D.C., to run. He also challenged Van Drew in the 2018 Democratic primary.

The two Democratic contenders who did not raise enough funding to qualify for the debate are West Cape May Commissioner John Francis, an author and motivational speaker; and Robert Turkavage, of Brigantine, a retired FBI agent who switched from Republican to Democrat late last year.

Contact: 609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

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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