Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) announced his resignation from Congress Tuesday and simultaneously endorsed the sibling of a state Democratic Party boss to succeed him.
Andrews, who was first elected in 1990 and has been under investigation by the House ethics committee for two years, said at a news conference that he is leaving for a job at a private law firm. His last day in Congress will be on Feb. 18.
Andrews offered an early endorsement to Donald Norcross, a Democratic state senator and the brother of South Jersey power broker and top party fundraiser George Norcross. The seat will remain open until the November general election. A primary for the heavily-Democratic seat, New Jersey’s 1st Congressional District, is on June 3.
“I will tell you that I hope Donald Norcross enters the race,” Andrews said during the press conference. “I will have a voice in that process I’m sure.”
Norcross, a Camden County Democrat, was sworn into the New Jersey Senate in 2010. He would be a likely frontrunner if he chooses to enter the race and is slated to receive his party’s backing.
Norcross could announce his candidacy as soon as today, but sources close to the senator indicated his office was speeding to catch up with news of Andrews’s resignation.
Andrews’ announcement follows a two-year long congressional ethics investigation into the possible misuse of campaign funds, with legal costs that have exceeded $200,000. Andrews downplayed the role of the investigation on his decision to resign and emphasized that financial considerations played a large role in his announcement.
“That investigation is not in any way the basis of my decision,” Andrews told reporters during the press conference. “The imminent decision was the important one about whether I needed to take this step for my family.”
Andrews was made an offer to join the Paxson Law Firm on Friday morning and consulted his family before over the weekend before making his decision.
“We had a lot of family meetings over the weekend and we took a vote,” he said.
Andrews declined to comment on his ongoing House Ethics investigation throughout the press conference, which will effectively end with his resignation. He has repeatedly denied allegations of misconduct in recent years.Andrews was recently promoted to policy co-chair of the Democratic Steering Committee by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), with whom he has become a close ally.