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WILDWOOD – President Donald Trump can’t come to Atlantic City because he doesn’t have the guts to face the workers he stiffed there before he beat it out of town, said Brigid Harrison, the Montclair University Political Science professor who’s running for a CD-2 seat against incumbent U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2).
Van Drew changed his party affiliation and is scheduled to stand with Trump at a rally this evening here in Wildwood.
Harrison doesn’t see this as a bleak day in the district’s history.
On the contrary.
“I think it’s fantastic that so many diverse groups have bound together, articulating unity and peace in the face of Trump and now Van Drew, and their message of racism, anti-immigration and misogyny,” Harrison told InsiderNJ.
“It’s a chance for Van Drew to reveal his true colors,” said the Democratic candidate. “With an impeachment trial ongoing, here is Jeff Van Drew,proud to bring out this president, who is so controversial, who comes to Wildwood, but doesnt have the courage to come to the city he decimated. We saw Van Drew hop over people to get to Trump at the state of the union, in such embarrassing fashion. And now he stands with him [a former Atlantic City casinos owner] and cannot face the glaziers and upholsterers and workers. That’s the reason the president can’t go to the largest city in the district.”
Harrison said the hoopla around the convention center doesn’t reflect the district.
“What I know about my district is we’re a district that elected Barack Obama twice and Trump’s and Van Drew’s divisive message has no place in New Jersey,” she said.
Harrison focused on her campaign message of jobs and the economy, the environment and access to heathcare.
By contrast, she said, “Trump is exploiting the most basic fears of individuals. Leadership is about hope, and this president speaks to our lowest impulses and places blame on the other. A lot of people are economically threatened in this country right now. My district has the highest foreclosure rate in the country. We need to be working for these people and devising real solutions, not fomenting hateful rhetoric.”
In command of six of the eight county lines she covets in a Democratic Primary but still in the hunt for Atlantic County, concentration of about 42% of the primary vote, Harrison scored an endorsement this week by the American Federation of Teachers. “I can’t emphasize how important it is that the AFT endorsed me. I’m a member of that union at Montclair important. It’s important to know they have my back and I’ll have theirs as well.”
The candidate said she feels very good about her level of support in her home county.
“I’m talking to clubs and organizations and I am heartened that people, when they step back and look at the candidates, they see who’s best equipped, who has the knowledge, and who has the skill set to solve the problems of the district,” Harrison said. “I am getting a terrific reception as people get to know my background and the challenges I’ve faced.”
At the heart of the primary contest at this moment is Harrison’s rivalry with educator Amy Kennedy, wife of former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who today summoned the son of Martin Luther King, Jr. to her side to campaign on the boardwalk.
“I welcome MLK the 3rd into the district,” Harrison said. “Anything we can do to heighten the need for unity and the message for peaceful protest, I welcome. He is a fantastic addition.
“Obviously coming from her husband’s background, she has connections I don’t have,” the professor added in reference to King.