It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Amy Kennedy was a long-shot to win the Democratic primary in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District (CD-2). Yet on Tuesday night as the first mail-in-ballot-only election came to a close, Amy Kennedy was declared the winner.
A former teacher and NJEA member, Amy Kennedy earned NJEA’s endorsement in April. As COVID-19 spread across the state, it forced the campaign and NJEA members to find new ways to support Kennedy throughout the primary. NJEA members stepped up, using their ingenuity to propel the former educator to victory.
“We are proud to have supported Amy Kennedy during this critical primary election,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “The world is full of uncertainty right now, and, as educators, we must elect pro-public education candidates to represent us in Washington. Amy knows our profession because she’s worked in it. She is the voice our members, and students deserve to have in Congress right now.”
“She’s an inspiration,” said NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller, citing Kennedy’s underdog status, which she held throughout the race. “Without party backing, our members knew this would be a difficult task. It was daunting, but NJEA members aren’t easily discouraged. We worked harder for Amy Kennedy because she will remain loyal to educators and our students. We need someone we can trust in CD-2. Amy Kennedy is that someone.”
Throughout the campaign, NJEA members in CD-2 found creative ways to talk with other members about voting for Kennedy. From sending text messages to making phone calls and posting on social media, NJEA members quickly adapted to a campaign unlike any other.
“Our members were determined to make a difference in this campaign. Despite the challenges, from working remotely to campaigning remotely, our members stepped up” said NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty. “Amy supports public education, she stands up for racial, social and economic justice, and she isn’t afraid to stand up to President Trump, unlike Jeff Van Drew. Amy Kennedy is worth fighting for, and we’re excited to fight for her this November.”
Amy Kennedy will face Jeff Van Drew (R-2) in this November’s general election. A lifelong Democrat, Van Drew switched political parties last year to earn the support of President Donald Trump.