Norcross enters race to succeed Andrews

New Jersey state Sen. Donald Norcross (D) jumped into the race to replace retiring Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) just hours after the Democrat's resignation announcement with the congressman’s blessing.

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"I am running for Congress because South Jersey needs someone who is going to stand up for us in Washington, D.C., as Rob Andrews has done for more than two decades," Norcross said in a statement. "I have spent my career fighting for middle class families, senior citizens and workers.”

Andrews announced Tuesday he’ll step down on Feb. 18 to join a private law firm, admist an ongoing congressional ethics probe into alleged misuse of campaign funds to pay for personal trips to Scotland and Los Angeles. He also has been accused of using his daughter’s graduation party to raise money for his campaign.

He said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference announcing his decision to step down that his choice to succeed him would be Norcross.

 “I will tell you that I hope Donald Norcross enters the race,” Andrews said. “I will have a voice in that process I’m sure.”

Norcross is the brother of New Jersey powerbroker George Norcross, a Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) supporter and occasional ally of Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.). He’s also well-connected to the labor movement, as head of the southern New Jersey AFL-CIO.

And he’s already consolidating Democratic support — along with Andrews, state Senate President Steve Sweeney reportedly endorsed Norcross for the seat on Tuesday.

Still, Norcross may face a primary for the seat, which is expected to stay in Democratic hands. Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor told the South Jersey Times he may run.