Amy Kennedy to run against party-switching US Rep. Jeff Van Drew

Amy Kennedy, a member of the Kennedy family and wife of a former Rhode Island congressman, announced on Monday she is running for Congress against a former New Jersey Democrat who recently switched parties.

Kennedy joins three other Democrats seeking their party's nomination for New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District seat and will run against freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who joined the Republican Party after opposing the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. She is married to Patrick J. Kennedy, son of late Sen. Ted Kennedy and a former Democratic representative.

Born in Atlantic City and raised in Absecon and Pleasantville, Kennedy is a former public school teacher. She is currently education director of The Kennedy Forum.

Kennedy will raise issues surrounding the mental health crisis and opioid addiction during her campaign, according to a release. Kennedy said she will be an "independent voice in Congress" in a statement on Monday.

"As a former history teacher and a mother of five, I know that this is an historic moment in time when our children's future is on the line. Our country is in crisis, and our leaders like Donald Trump and Jeff Van Drew have lost their moral compass," Kennedy said in a statement. "Environmental protections for our coastal communities are being traded in for profits. Race baiting and fear mongering have taken over. We no longer talk to our families and our neighbors because of our divisive politics."

Van Drew, who voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump, was struggling in New Jersey politics as a Democrat. He already was facing a tough reelection in his New Jersey district; becoming a Republican would allow him to avoid a Democratic primary. CNN previously reported that internal polling showed Van Drew was losing major support among Democrats.

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