As a well-known — and often quoted — political science professor at Montclair State University, it would be the norm for Brigid Callahan Harrison to be asked about New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew’s decision to switch parties this weekend.
On Monday, Harrison made a bigger statement: She announced her intention to become the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives from New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. It’s a move that would put her up against Van Drew, who announced that he is leaving the Democratic Party and will serve — and then run — as a Republican.
Harrison, a Longport resident who has taught political science and law at Montclair State University for the past two decades, said it was time to take a step forward.
“It’s time to put politics aside and do what’s right for South Jersey,” she said in a statement. “We need citizens, not politicians. That’s why I’m running for Congress.”
Harrison then took her first shot at Van Drew, her almost-certain opponent should she earn the Democratic nomination.
“Those of us across South Jersey deserve a true leader, who is not afraid to ask questions, engage the community, demand the truth and who will always put the needs of the district and its people before self-interest,” she said. “Jeff Van Drew made a choice. He has repeatedly ignored the voices of our community and has instead sold his soul, cutting backroom deals with the White House.
“Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or independent, the last thing the people of the 2nd Congressional District need or want is to elect a blind pawn for (President) Donald Trump. The people deserve an independent-minded representative who is willing to fight for a stronger health care system, strategic investments in infrastructure and getting corporate special interest money out of our politics. Most of all, we need someone in Washington who will look out for more than just themselves.”
Harrison is considered one of the state’s top political experts and is the author of “American Democracy Now,” along with “A More Perfect Union, Power and Society and Women in American Politics.”
She is a graduate of Holy Spirit High School in Abescon, received her B.A. in liberal arts with a focus on political science and economics from Richard Stockton College (now Stockton University), received a master’s degree in international relations and comparative politics from Rutgers University and her Ph.D. in American politics from Temple University.