Congressional candidate Amy Kennedy and President Barack Obama. Kennedy photo courtesy of Amy Kennedy. Obama photo courtesy of the White House.

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

BRIGANTINEPresident Barack Obama announced Monday his endorsement of Democratic candidates around the country, including Amy Kennedy, candidate for New Jersey’s Second Congressional District. 

Kennedy, a longtime mental health advocate and the wife of former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, emerged from a crowded field of Democratic candidates last month in the party primary to take on Republican incumbent Jeff Van Drew.

The race is expected to play out nationally because of President Donald Trump‘s boisterous endorsement of Van Drew. Van Drew won the House district as a Democrat in 2018, but switched parties earlier this year during Trump’s impeachment.

“I’m honored to be among the candidates endorsed by President Barack Obama,” Kennedy said in a statement released by her office. “In these unprecedented times, leadership is more important than ever. We need leaders who are committed to serving the people they’re elected to serve, who are focused on providing justice and opportunity for all. In Congress, I’ll work tirelessly for the people of South Jersey to provide access to affordable health care, to support and protect working families and to revitalize South Jersey’s economy.”

Kennedy was able to win endorsements from numerous minority leaders in South Jersey during the Democratic primary in beating the endorsed party candidate Brigid Callahan Harrison.

“I’m proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic, and highly qualified Democrats,” Obama said in a statement about his series of endorsements. “Together, these candidates will help us redeem our country’s promise by sticking up for working class people, restoring fairness and opportunity to our system, and fighting for the good of all Americans — not just those at the top.

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“They make me optimistic not just about our party’s chances in November, but about our country’s future long after that. So if you’re in one of their districts or states, make sure you vote for them this fall. And if you can, vote early — by mail or in person,” he said.

Other New Jersey Democrats Obama endorsed included Andy Kim for U.S. House District 3; Josh Gottheimer, U.S. House District 5; Tom Malinowski, U.S. House District 7; and Mikie Sherrill, U.S. House District 11.

In all, Obama endorsed 118 Democratic candidates from 17 states running for federal, statewide and state legislative offices. Kennedy was one of 51 U.S. House candidates he endorsed. Obama also endorsed five U.S. Senate candidates and more than 50 candidates for state legislative office.

Some of Obama’s other notable endorsements included North Carolina’s Cal Cunningham in his U.S. Senate race against incumbent Thom Tillis; Iowa’s Theresa Greenfield, who is trying to beat first-term U.S. Senate incumbent Joni Ernst; Maine’s Sara Gideon, who is running vulnerable moderate Republican Susan Collins; and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Cory Gardner.

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