November 08, 2022
All three of South Jersey's representatives in the U.S. House appear to be headed back to Washington.
On Tuesday, Democrat Donald Norcross topped Republican Claire Gustafson in the 1st Congressional District to win his fifth full term. Republican Jeff Van Drew defeated Tim Alexander in the 2nd District to win his third term.
Democratic incumbent Andy Kim is projected to win the 3rd District, according to the Associated Press. But Republican challenger Bob Healey declined to concede due to delayed votes from Mercer County.
Election results are unofficial until certified by the New Jersey Board of Canvassers later this month.
Incumbent Democrat Donald Norcross fended off a challenge from a familiar opponent in Republican Claire Gustafson. The two faced off in the 2020 congressional election with Norcross winning by nearly 30% in the heavily Democratic district.
The AP called the race for Norcross at 9:07 p.m. As of 1:36 a.m. Wednesday, Norcross had collected 61.97% of the vote, with 91.1% of the expected vote counted. Gustafson held 35.59%.
Norcross is an electrician and labor leader, who began his political career in the New Jersey Senate. He's an advocate for worker protections, environmental action and the development of alternative energy, including plans to build a solar park in Gloucester Township. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Norcross has served on the Armed Services Committee. He also has worked on issues ranging from the opioid epidemic and health care reform to school infrastructure. He supports abortion rights.
Gustafson has been a small business owner for more than 30 years and is an active member of her community in Collingswood, where she formerly was a school board member and youth soccer coach. She is the president of Camden County New Jersey Republican Women and serves on Collingswood's planning and zoning board. Gustafson supports the Keystone XL pipeline, which she says would bring jobs and reduce gas prices. She has criticized Norcross for his role in the economic development of Camden's Delaware River waterfront, which she claims was marred by special interests. Gustafson also supports immigration reform, opposes abortion and supports the Second Amendment.
There are three other candidates on the ballot in the 1st District: Allen Cannon of the Cannon Fire Party; Patricia Kline of For the People Party; and Isaiah Fletcher of the Libertarian Party.
New Jersey's 1st Congressional District represents most of Camden and Gloucester counties, in addition to two municipalities in Burlington County.
Incumbent Republican Jeff Van Drew won his third term in South Jersey's 2nd Congressional District, defeating Democratic challenger Tim Alexander.
The AP called the race for Van Drew at 11 p.m. As of 1:34 a.m. Wednesday, Van Drew had 61.16% of the vote, with 95% of the vote counted. Alexander had 37.66%.
Van Drew has been a congressman since 2018, including famously switching to the Republican Party in 2019 after siding with former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment. Then in 2020, as the incumbent, he won a tight reelection race to retain his seat in the Republican-leaning district.
Van Drew describes himself as "pro-life" and believes there should be restrictions on abortion. In May, he introduced the My Child, My Choice Act, a federal bill which aims to censor LGBTQ+ content in schools. The congressman wants to create American manufacturing jobs and lower health care costs. Van Drew opposes sanctuary city and state policies and is against the Green New Deal. In a debate with Alexander last month, he laid out his opposition to offshore wind projects in South Jersey and has said he is in favor of maintaining America's status as a world leader in oil and natural gas production.
Democrat Tim Alexander worked for years in law enforcement, including time as a detective captain in the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office. He has his law degree from Rutgers University in Camden and worked for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and the Philadelphia Solicitor's Office. He now works in private practice.
Alexander supports infrastructure improvements in South Jersey and expanding public transit. He has campaigned to to protect abortion rights and make health care affordable. He also supports LGBTQ+ rights and is a proponent of responsible gun ownership. Alexander is in favor of reducing influence of money in elections and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would protect the voting rights of people in communities of color.
At last month's debate with Van Drew, Alexander called out Republicans who side with former President Donald Trump and MAGA values, saying "MAGA wants to destroy Democracy ... just tear it down."
Also on the ballot in the 2nd District for Tuesday's election are Libertarian Party candidate Michael Gallo and Anthony Parisi Sanchez of the Not For Sale Party.
The 2nd U.S. House District represents the southernmost quarter of New Jersey, stretching the width of the state from the Delaware River to the Jersey Shore. It includes Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties, along with portions of Gloucester and Ocean counties.
Democrat Andy Kim appeared to win his third term in New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District against Republican challenger Bob Healey on Tuesday.
The AP called the race for Kim at 11 p.m. By 1:34 a.m. Wednesday, Kim had captured 54.87% of the vote, with 95% of the expected vote counted. Healey had 44.22%.
But voting machine issues that occurred throughout Election Day in Mercer County left the full count delayed. Though Kim declared victory, Healey declined to concede, the Asbury Park Press reported.
"Due to the unprecedented events of Mercer we're going to have to wait," Healey said at Burlington County GOP headquarters, according to the newspaper. "Until that comes out and I don't think we're going to find that out tonight. So that's where we're at. Only 10% of Mercer is in."
Kim is the son of Korean immigrants. He grew up in South Jersey and currently lives in Moorestown, Burlington County. He has a degree from University of Chicago and is a former Rhodes Scholar. He worked in several national security roles under President Obama and served on the National Security Council.
As a congressman, Kim has prioritized veterans issues and health care. He has supported legislation to lower prescription drug costs, expand health insurance for active and retired soldiers and ensure abortion access. He also sponsored a bill requiring licenses for gun owners. Kim notably broke with party leadership on the issue of stock trading. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the practice among members of Congress, Kim tweeted a rebuttal: "Americans are losing trust in government and we need to show we serve the people, not our personal/political self-interest."
Bob Healey is a political newcomer. He's a former punk rocker for the Philadelphia-based band The Ghouls. Healey is in charge of Viking Yacht Co., the ship manufacturing business in New Gretna, Burlington County, that his father started. Born and raised in Burlington County, Healey received a degree in finance from St. Joseph's University before settling down in Moorestown.
Healey's main campaign issues are the economy, school choice and law and order. He wants a a constitutional amendment that requires a balanced budget and a new law that would require a supermajority vote in Congress in order to raise taxes. He believes mask mandates were "unscientific" and school curriculums are "indoctrinating," and is generally opposed to anything conservatives would consider "woke." Healey opposes oil drilling off the Atlantic Coast but supports new oil development on federal lands, as well as restarting the Keystone XL pipeline. Though he describes himself as anti-abortion, Healey says he supports abortion in cases of rape, incest or when childbirth threatens the life of a mother. He also believes "compromise" is possible on the legality of first-trimester abortions.
Two other candidates also were on the ballot for Tuesday's election: Gregory Sobocinski, of the God Save America Party, and Christopher Russomanno, of the Libertarian Party.
New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District spans the state, east to west, and includes most of Burlington County and parts of Ocean County.
Disclosure: U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross is the uncle of PhillyVoice founder and chairwoman Lexie Norcross.