Congressman Jeff Van Drew tells his supporters that it was a “brutal election.”


SEA ISLE CITY – Republican Congressman Jeff Van Drew declared victory Tuesday night in the hotly contested 2nd Congressional District race that pitted the incumbent against Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy.

Unofficial results showed Van Drew with about a 10,000-vote lead over Kennedy with 141,203 to 131,336, respectively. Kennedy, though, would not concede on Election Night.

The results do not include a portion of the mail-in ballots received on Election Day or mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, which may be received through Nov. 10 and provisional ballots.

Van Drew, who was originally elected to Congress in 2018 as a Democrat, switched to the Republican Party last year and closely aligned himself with President Donald Trump.

Van Drew said “a lot of power was used against me” by the Democratic Party to target him as a Republican.

“This has been a long and hard and brutal election,” he told his jubilant supporters while declaring victory in remarks at the Oar House Pub in Sea Isle City.

As he did throughout the campaign, Van Drew sounded his theme about keeping America “strong.”

Among key areas he outlined, he said he wants to keep the military, the police, and the environment strong as he prepares to enter his second term in Congress.

Van Drew also stressed that America must maintain strength while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Telling his supporters that the virus came from China, he said America was forced “to beg” China for personal protective equipment when the U.S. supply chain was disrupted after COVID-19 initially broke out.

“I don’t want to ever see that again,” he said.

He pledged that the U.S. supply chain will be strengthened to help the nation fight the virus.

While Van Drew declared victory, Kennedy, of Brigantine, chose not to concede.

“As you all know, the polls closed almost two hours ago, and ballots are still being counted,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I have said from the beginning of this campaign that it is important that every vote be counted, and every voice heard and as we expected, it looks like that process will continue beyond tonight.”

She noted that she made the decision to run when Van Drew switched to the Republican Party.

“It was then that I knew I had to step up and do something,” Kennedy said. “And tonight, after months and months of South Jersey waiting for economic relief and strong leadership that hasn’t come, I know I made the right decision.”

Meanwhile, Kennedy’s campaign manager Josh Roesch said Kennedy was not going to concede Tuesday night.

“The race is close as expected. Tens of thousands of votes need to be counted over the next few weeks and we will work hard to make sure every vote is counted, and every voice is heard,” Roesch said in a statement.

Roesch stressed in his remarks that the majority of the remaining votes to be counted are in Atlantic and Cumberland counties, “which are Democratic counties Amy is currently winning and we fully expect to win,” he said. “At the end of the day, when all the votes are counted, we are confident Amy Kennedy will be elected to Congress.”

The 2nd Congressional District encompasses a vast swath of territory in the southern part of the state – eight counties and 92 towns. It includes the Jersey Shore towns, the Delaware Bay and some of the state’s most rural communities. Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties make up the core areas, with parts of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Ocean counties also included in the district.



Categories: Sea Isle City

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.