Political Science Professor Seeking Democratic Nod for 2nd District Congressional Seat After Van Drew’s Defection

By Rick Mellerup | Dec 18, 2019
Source: Facebook Brigid Callahan Harrison

Longport, NJ — Politicians abhor a vacuum as much as nature does. Just a couple of days after it was reported Democrat Jeff Van Drew, who represents New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, including all of Southern Ocean County save half of Stafford and all of Barnegat Township, was going to become Republican Jeff Van Drew, a new Democratic candidate arose hoping to take his place in the House of Representatives.

Brigid Callahan Harrison tossed her hat into the ring on Monday. A resident of Longport, Atlantic County, Harrison has taught political science and law at Montclair State University for the past two decades and is the author of a leading political science textbook, American Democracy Now. She also wrote Power and Society and Women in American Politics.

Now, instead of lecturing and writing about politics, she’ll be practicing them, although she’s describing herself as an outsider.

“It’s time to put politics aside and do what’s right for South Jersey,” she said in announcing her candidacy. “That’s why I’m running for Congress. 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.

“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 Donald Trump.

“The people deserve an independent-minded representative who is willing to fight for a stronger healthcare 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 graduated from Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, earned her B.A. in liberal arts with a focus on political science and economics from Richard Stockton State College, then received a master’s degree in international relations from Rutgers and her Ph.D in American politics from Temple University.

The professor has volunteered with Doctors Without Borders and served on the boards of the Atlantic County Women’s Center and the American Cancer Society’s Atlantic County Unit. She was a charter member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative of the Atlantic County United Way. She’s the mother of three children and was a member of the South Jersey chapter of Families with Children from China, and was membership chair of the Smithville Elementary Parent Teacher Association for over a decade. Currently she’s a member of the U.S. Naval Academy New Jersey Parents Club.

Her professional credentials include having served as president of the National Women’s Caucus for Political Science and as president of the New Jersey Political Science Association. She was inducted into the Atlantic County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009 and named the Distinguished Alumna of the Year in 2003 by the Richard Stockton Council of Black Faculty and Staff. Harrison has also received the Atlantic County Zonta’s “Women Who Make a Difference” award and the Harold J. Goodfriend Award for Public Service.

— Rick Mellerup

rickmellerup@thesandpaper.net

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