West Cape May Commish: ‘Seriously Considering a Run in CD2’

West Cape May Commish Francis in CD2

West Cape May Commissioner John Francis this afternoon confirmed to InsiderNJ that he might run for Congress next year in a Democratic Primary. “Yes, I am seriously considering a run in CD-2,” Francis said in an email.

An environmentalist and banjo player, Francis – who won his commissioner’s seat in 2017 – founded and directs Planetwalk , a nonprofit environmental education group.

In a 2013 interview, Francis said of his work, “I continue to develop Planetwalk, the environmental education nonprofit, and within that, I am developing a walking education program, ‘Semester-on Foot,’ in which students go on a walk, visit communities, and do community services while remaining connected to their learning institution through digital and distance learning technologies. Planetlines is an environmental education curriculum, K-University, that employs GPS and digital technology to help students learn and share their journey with others. If you think there is some overlap there, you are right.

“My kids go to West Cape May Elementary School, our small rural public school with an enrollment of 82 students,” he added. “With other parents, I engage the students with stories of Planetwalk, and I am looking to develop Planetlines, the environmental education curriculum I mentioned earlier.”

Cumberland County Freeholder Jack Surrency is another name circulating, along with Francis.

As previously reported, progressive group called Indivisible Cape May – intent on getting behind a candidate who will primary the incumbent Democratic congressman – is entertaining the names of Democrats who were irritated over Van Drew’s vote in opposition to an impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.

Surrency and Francis are the two names surfacing in the group, even as Montclair University Professor Brigid Harrison takes a hard look at challenging Van Drew.

According to a source close to Indivisible, Surrency and Francis both “want to run.”

Francis today confirmed that nugget.

Leaders within Indivisible at this particular moment in time are said to be particularly intrigued by the West Cape May commissioner, who hails from their county.

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 Trump.

Harrison of Longport said she is considering 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.

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.

Kennedy said he personally won’t run, but issued a warning to Van Drew.

“No, thanks for asking,” said the Brigantine resident and son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, though he signaled his willingness to be active.

For while removing himself from contention as a contestant in a 2020 Democratic Primary, Kennedy did say he would be watching how Van Drew ultimately votes on the Trump impeachment. “If he votes no on impeachment… I wouldn’t be the only one around here who will be marking him absent from now on,” Kennedy said.

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