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Voters to cast ballots in primary election - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Voters to cast ballots in primary election

‘Conservative Democrat’ facing three progressives

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Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 9:42 am

Registered voters will have an opportunity to select candidates for the 2nd Congressional District and U.S. Senate races in the primary election Tuesday, June 5.

Primary winners will face each other in the Nov. 6 general election.


U.S. House, Second 

Congressional District 


Three progressive Democrats are vying for the nomination against the party-backed favorite, Jeff Van Drew, First Legislative District senator. 

Will Cunningham is an attorney and former policy adviser for Sen. Cory Booker. Cunningham points to his federal experience as an investigator with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Booker’s office. On the issues, Cunningham supports pay equity for women, is pro-choice regarding abortion and supports expanding health care access for military veterans. He favors providing two years of free community college as an affordable way students can enter four-year degree programs. Cunningham supports improved infrastructure for the district’s roads and bridges. He supports removing marijuana from the federal government’s list of Schedule I controlled dangerous substances. 

Nathan Kleinman is a farmer and activist who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2012 as the “first Occupy Candidate” for his involvement with the Occupy Philadelphia movement. Kleinman advocates for health care as a right, not a privilege, and supports universal health care and an expansion of Medicaid. He opposes “stop-and-frisk” tactics by police and mass incarceration. Kleinman supports pay equity for women and an increase in minimum wage. He also supports equalizing public school funding across municipalities and providing free college education. On the environment, Kleinman supports cutting subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and favors advancing renewable energy through tax incentives and research. 

Tanzie Youngblood is a retired educator and resident of Woolwich Township in Gloucester County.  She favors a ban on civilian purchase for military assault weapons, universal background checks for all firearm purchases and raising the age for buying firearms from 18 to 21. She favors accessible health care and is pro-choice regarding abortion. A Blue Star mother with a son serving in the U.S. Navy, Youngblood advocates for health care, education, employment and skills development for veterans. 

Jeff Van Drew is a state senator who has represented the First Legislative District since 2008. He received the endorsement of all of the 2nd Congressional District’s eight Democratic organizations. Unlike his progressive opponents, Van Drew dubbed himself a “conservative Democrat.” 

He supports universal background checks for gun purchases, banning bump stocks and criminalizing the illegal seizure of handguns. Van Drew sponsored concealed carry legislation and voted against legislation that would reduce the capacity of ammunition magazines. 

According to his campaign website, Van Drew has had more bills signed into law than any legislator in the state. His legislative accomplishments include establishing a Veterans Diversion Program, protecting consumers from predatory lending practices, prohibiting unsolicited telemarketing calls, enforcing a ban on self-service gasoline stations and opposing oil exploration off the Atlantic coast. He worked to eliminate three traffic lights on the Garden State Parkway in Cape May County and sponsored legislation increasing programs for students with dyslexia.


U.S. Senate


Incumbent Democrat Robert Menendez is running for re-election, while progressive Lisa McCormick is challenging him for the nomination.

Menendez has been a senator since 2006, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Jon Corzine. Menendez fought for New Jersey’s share of federal recovery money after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. As senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Menendez supported legislation to help families struggling with autism, and championed health services for women and community health centers for underserved communities. He advocated for more investment in infrastructure, retraining workers and tax policy that brings employment opportunities to New Jersey. 

Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges in 2015 and pleaded not guilty. In November 2017, his trial ended with a hung jury. The Justice Department dropped all charges against Menendez in January 2018.  

Lisa McCormick, of Rahway, is the owner of a community news website, CMD Media. She supports public campaign funding, term limits and expanding free public education from pre-kindergarten to college. 

McCormick opposes laws prohibiting marijuana use, unwarranted domestic spying and traffic enforcement cameras. According to her website, McCormick “advocates radical progressive change to address broken political and economic systems that have essentially legalized bribery, permitted overt racial segregation throughout New Jersey and undermined almost all advances of the 20th century.”

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