Amy Kennedy wins primary to take on Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who defected to GOP
Amy Kennedy, the wife of ex-Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy and daughter-in-law of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, has won the Democratic primary in New Jersey’s second congressional district, setting up a November showdown with GOP Rep. Jeff Van Drew — who defected from the Democratic Party amid their push to impeach President Trump.
Kennedy, a political novice who ran on expanding ObamaCare, had the endorsement of Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. State Sen. President Steve Sweeney and the state’s two U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, backed one of Kennedy’s opponents, Brigid Callahan Harrison.
The second congressional district includes Atlantic City, and leans conservative. Trump won the district 2016 by fewer than 5 points; the race is rated “lean Republican” by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
Van Drew overwhelming won his own primary race, notching more than 80 percent of the vote with more than a third of precincts reporting.
Meanwhile, Cory Booker has won New Jersey’s Democratic Senate primary. The incumbent Booker had faced Lawrence Hamm, who was running on Bernie Sanders’ “Not Me. Us.” slogan.
Booker arrived in the Senate in 2013 after serving as mayor of Newark.
New Jersey’s primary comes as two New York City Democratic representatives are fighting for their political lives. Rep. Eliot Engel, the powerful chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, is far behind progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman and longtime Rep. Carolyn Maloney is slightly ahead of primary challenger Suraj Patel – as absentee ballots continue to be counted from New York State’s June 23 primary.
New Jersey’s already-late primary got pushed a month later because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Gov. Murphy mandated that the election take place mostly by mail-in ballots.