United behind Andrzejczak, state Assembly seat dividing S.J. Democrats
VINELAND – South Jersey Democrats are uniting behind New Jersey Assemblyman Robert Andrzejczak to succeed congressman-elect Jeff Van Drew as state senator in the 1st Legislative District, but loyalties seem divided over backfilling his General Assembly seat.
It is now official that Cumberland County Freeholder James Quinn and former assemblyman Matt Milam are running to succeed Andrzejczak, despite Van Drew’s public declaration of support for Milam.
Milam and Quinn on Friday both declined to comment on the contest but did trade compliments.
Van Drew, a resident of Cape May, will resign from the Senate on Jan. 1. Cape May Democrats are scheduled to gather on Sunday, Jan. 6, in Cape May Courthouse to vote on his replacement.
“They’re both great candidates, Matt Milam and Jim Quinn,” Van Drew said. “And either one of them would be fine. I made a commitment to Matt Milam many, many months ago that I would support him as we went along and see how things worked out. He served three terms and he won three terms. I think that means a lot.”
Milam also has the support of Andrzejczak, who has been in the lower house since 2013. He was appointed to succeed Milam when the latter resigned to return full time to his family’s trucking business.
“At the time, he asked when that (business) was all squared away that he would really like to come back so he could give a full-time effort to this,” Van Drew said. “So, I think that matters as well.”
Van Drew said Bruce Land, the other assemblyman in the district, also is supporting Milam.
Cumberland County Democrats became the first county organization to endorse candidates at a gathering in Millville on Wednesday. Atlantic County Democrats also must meet, but only a small portion of the county is in the 1st District.
Cumberland Democrats disclosed on Friday that members had unanimously voted to support Quinn to follow Andrezejcak to Trenton and for Andrzejczak to replace Van Drew.
NJ Sen. Jeff Van Drew delivers a victory speech in Atlantic City, N.J. Vineland Daily Journal
“When you’re pulling from a pool of committed and competent candidates, your endorsements come easily,” Cumberland Chairman Steve Errickson said. “We are confident of both of our selections.”
Brendan Sciarra, chair of the Cape May Democratic Party, is backing Andrzejcak and Milam but promised an “open” selection process and a secret ballot for members.
“I think he (Andrzejczak) will do an amazing job and represent the district well,” Sciarra said. “And understands the working class and understands small business.”
Sciarra said his committee people will gather again on Jan. 13 to pick a new assemblyman.
“And they’re both good guys,” Sciarra said. “And after this, we’ll get reunited, whoever it is, and we’ll work together."
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