CD2 Flashpoint: Harrison Mulls a Challenge to Van Drew

Dr. Brigid Callahan Harrison

Dr. Brigid Harrison, professor of political science at Montclair University, said she is contemplating a challenge to U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-2).

Long defined as a moderate in a Republican-district who prizes working across the aisle, Van Drew angered progressives in his district as one of just two House Democrats who earlier this year opposed the launch of impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.

Now Harrison of Longport said she is taking a hard look at a possible challenge to the congressman in a Democratic Primary.

“It’s an interesting question,” she told InsiderNJ. “There are people who have asked me to run, whose opinions matter to me.

“It’s something I have to think about,” she added.

In an op-ed, Harrison wrote the following of the congressman:

“His vote on impeachment proceedings will negatively affect his ability to effectively represent our district. That’s because there are 20 representatives who, like Van Drew, hail from districts that voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. But nearly every one of them decided that the vote on impeachment was worth risking their political careers.”

Progressives – among them at least one CD-2-based academic – aren’t the only ones irritated with the congressman.

Allies of state Senator Steve Sweeney (D-3) disagreed over political strategy during state Senator Bob Andrzejzcak’s (D-1) unsuccessful campaign to secure the state senate seat left behind by Van Drew when he went to Congress. The name of one of their allies, Cumberland County Clerk Celeste Riley, briefly flickered as a possible challenger. People have also mentioned former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who now lives in Brigantine, but a source today told InsiderNJ that Kennedy, lacking fire in the belly for elected office at this juncture, is almost assuredly a no.

Harrison last week interviewed South Jersey Power Broker George Norcross III as part of her ongoing Salon series at Montclair.


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