CHERRY HILL TWP. — Freshman Congressman Donald Norcross launched his campaign for reelection Wednesday afternoon with a guest list that stressed endorsements from competing factions of the Democratic party.
Norcross' first official campaign event featured remarks from both a Hillary Clinton campaign surrogate and the chair of Bernie Sanders' New Jersey campaign — a combination intended to show Norcross' ability to unite the party and seemingly takes indirect aim at his 25-year-old progressive challenger, Alex Law.
Norcross' primary opponent, Law, is an ardent supporter of Bernie Sanders and has said Sanders' successes on the campaign trail could bode well for his own grassroots campaign.
"I believe that this nation operates best when we all work together on behalf of the families, children and seniors who are the bedrock of our community," Norcross said in a statement. "I will never let the smallness of politics and cheap political points undermine the will and progress of the American people."
Sanders' N.J. campaign chair, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, was vocal about his support for Norcross during the event, held in front of Kennedy University Hospital's expansion construction site in Cherry Hill.
"Donald has long been a leader on progressive issues and a fighter for all of New Jersey's working families," Wisniewski, a former chair of the state's Democratic party and current chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said in a statement. "He continues to put New Jersey residents first instead of Wall Street and big business, creating a fairer playing field and making access and opportunity to good paying jobs a priority."
Law took issue with the endorsement, arguing it was Norcross' attempt to "galvanize a base that has lost faith in his ability to lead" and that Wisniewski wasn't representing Sanders' ideals by championing an incumbent who has voted with Republicans in Congress more than any other Democratic representative from the state.
"Real Bernie supporters around the state have got to be confused as to why his state chair ... would be there actively supporting someone who is the embodiment of everything Bernie is against," said Law in a statement. "Bernie supporters around the state have already been looking at [Wisniewski's hometown of] Sayerville skeptically, as Mr. Wisniewski has been unable to put together the kind of robust coordination that Bernie needs in New Jersey, and I am sure this will add to their mistrust."
Norcross defended his voting record during an editorial board with NJ Advance Media last month, stating he casts his votes for what's best for his district and not for any one political party.
While Law launched his campaign against Norcross more than a year ago, when Norcross was first sworn into office in November of 2014, the race is slowly heating up as June approaches.
A recent lawsuit Law filed against the Camden County clerk's office, arguing the office was stonewalling his attempts to get information about ballot placements, was dismissed by a judge on Wednesday.
Law, who also recently announced he'd be running on a slate with two Democratic challengers for freeholder, maintains the legal action got him the information he needed to know, while the county claims it was a frivolous lawsuit designed to drum up publicity.