Most colleagues mum on Andrews

Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) got the approval of local Democratic activists Monday to run for a 10th term in Congress.

Getting the approval of his House colleagues, however, is another matter.


Only two of the other eight Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation committed to supporting Andrews on Tuesday, the day after Democratic county committee members in Andrews’s district sealed his return to the ballot.

In fact, most of those members, who vociferously denounced Andrews five months ago when he announced his primary challenge to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), have been conspicuously silent ever since Andrews announced last week that he would seek reelection.

Feelings are still hurt over Andrews’s decision to challenge Lautenberg, one of the oldest senators, after he and his colleagues all agreed that none of them would.

Most of the members of the state’s delegation have their own designs on a Senate seat. Andrews wound up making an unsuccessful last-minute end run at it two months before the primary.

Andrews has now gone back on his word twice with his fellow New Jersey Democrats, having also told them and everybody else that he would not seek reelection to the House under any circumstances.

Just two of them — Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezAs NFIP reauthorization deadline looms, Congress must end lethal subsidies Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7 Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE and Rep. Albio Sires — said Tuesday that they would support Andrews’s reelection.

Lautenberg has been silent on the matter, declining to comment. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., through a spokesman, also demurred Tuesday.

The rest of the Democratic delegation — Reps. Bill Pascrell, Steve Rothman, Donald Payne and Rush Holt — didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

{mospagebreak}Pascrell told The New York Times last week that the move was “very disingenuous” and represented a “flaw” in Andrews’s character.

Menendez spokesman Afshin Mohamadi said his boss was supporting Andrews, and Sires told The Hill that Andrews is an “excellent congressman.”

But Sires declined to speak for the rest of the delegation


“I haven’t talked to my colleagues about it at all,” Sires said. Asked if Andrews was well-liked within the delegation, Sires said: “I like Rob. Just because he ran against Lautenberg doesn’t mean we have to disown him.”

Despite the lack of support from his colleagues, Andrews appears set to cruise to reelection.

He hasn’t taken less than 70 percent of the vote since 1992 and faces a poorly funded challenger in prison ministry director Dale Glading (R).

Glading had only $425 cash on hand at the end of June.

Andrews chief of staff Bill Caruso pointed to the local support the congressman has, in addition to Gov. Jon Corzine (D) and state Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Cryan.

Caruso said it will be a process for the members of the delegation to come around.

“The congressman is working on repairing those relationships, but it will take some time,” Caruso said.

Andrews fell to Lautenberg by a wide margin, 59-35, and toward the end of the campaign resorted to attacks on the 84-year-old incumbent’s age.

When Andrews announced his campaign in April, the other six Democrats in the state’s House delegation combined to issue a statement urging him to drop out of the race.

They also took part in a Washington press conference denouncing Andrews for supporting GOP policies and for continuing to fund the Iraq war for too long.

When Andrews lost and speculation began to percolate about his running for reelection, Pallone said Andrews should be true to his word.

“This is why people criticize New Jersey politics,” Pallone told the South Jersey-based Courier-Post in June.

Andrews announced Thursday that he would run for reelection after all.

His wife, Camille Andrews, easily won the Democratic primary in June. She removed her name from the ballot to clear the way for her husband’s return.

On Monday, the county committees in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties returned Andrews to the ballot, as expected.