As it heads toward the Atantic County Convention this coming weekend, the primary for the Democratic nomination for Congress in CD2 is fast intensifying. Earlier today, Montclair University Political Science Professor Brigid Harrison collected the endorsement of the Star-Ledger. The candidate has also amassed considerable backing from party and labor organizations, putting that much more importance on Atlantic for Kennedy. Even U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) took the unusual step of jumping into the South Jersey Democratic Primary with his endorsement of Harrison.
Against that back drop, and with the weekend convention looming, the campaign of Amy Kennedy,
mental health advocate running for the Democratic nomination for New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district, called on Harrison to explain her past comments urging Chris Christie to run for president.
In a pre-Bridgegate op-ed in question (reprinted below), Harrison argued that Christie would be the Republican Party’s strongest choice against President Barack Obama. In the 2011 piece titled, “Dear Governor Christie: Your Time Is Now,” Harrison tells Christie unequivocally, “You should run” for President against Barack Obama.
“Opportunities like this typically don’t knock more than once. You’ve created this opportunity, and to ignore it, is, perhaps, to ignore your destiny,” writes Harrison, who according to the Star-Ledger backed Christie for governor in 2009.
“What every South Jersey Democrat should be wondering right now is: Why did Brigid Harrison think Chris Christie would make a better President than Barack Obama? And how can we possibly trust that she’ll stand up for good Democratic policies when she couldn’t even commit to supporting the nation’s first African-American president over New Jersey’s Republican Governor?” asked Josh Roesch, Kennedy’s campaign manager.
“We’re just not sure which part of Christie’s record Brigid finds so compelling: His assault on Planned Parenthood? Or the union-bashing? Look, the last thing we need is another Jeff Van Drew—someone who will betray our families and his supposed values when the chips are down. Democrats can’t afford to nominate another Democrat-in-name-only.”
Matthew Frankel, spokesman for the Harrison Campaign, issued a statement in response.
“This is a poorly executed reflex by Amy Kennedy to cloud what Will Cunningham revealed today – that Amy and her husband Patrick have received millions from opioid companies through the years,”” he said. “Amy Kennedy’s campaign strategy seems focused on continuing to throw mud at her fellow Democrats, labor unions and even a sitting Senator. She obviously has no interest in uniting the Democratic Party and is only interested in her own political career. Nice try Amy, but these tactics are disingenuous, and especially bizarre coming from Van Drew’s former campaign manger. As everyone remembers in December, Chris Christie was one of the first to publicly attack Brigid when she first announced her candidacy.
“Will Cunningham is right,” Frankel added. “The voters deserve to know the truth about the Kennedy Foundation.”
The Kennedy Campaign’s attack landed on the same day Harrison brought together top leaders and advocates of New Jersey cannabis community. Harrison backs the legalization of recreational marjuana, in contrast to Kennedy, who backs marijuana decriminilization. A self-described moderate, Harrison last year became vociferous in her opposition to U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2) when the congressman, at that time a Democrat, expressed his own resistance to impeaching President Donald J. Trump.
The full 2011 op-ed is here:Harrison Christie 2012 Op-Ed