PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew has defeated Democratic rival Amy Kennedy and won a second term in his southern New Jersey district. The 2nd Congressional District covers much of southern New Jersey and includes parts or all of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem Counties.
Kennedy is a mental health advocate, a former history teacher from South Jersey, and wife of former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy. She defeated Brigid Callahan Harrison, a Montclair State University political science professor, in the state’s primary in July.
Elected as a Democrat in 2018, Van Drew made national headlines earlier this year after he switched parties. He joined the GOP over his opposition to the impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump.
Van Drew’s switch drew the praise of Trump, who later hosted a rally in Wildwood, part of the 2nd Congressional District.
During an October debate with Kennedy, Van Drew deflected concerns from Democrats angered over his party change, downplaying how much weight voters give to a candidate’s political party.
“People voted for me because I’m Jeff Van Drew,” he said. “I was concerned about standing up for South Jersey.”
Van Drew represented a southern New Jersey congressional district that Trump carried in 2016.
Before Van Drew’s victory as a Democrat in 2018, Republicans had held the congressional seat for over two decades.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)