Amy Kennedy Secures Democratic Nomination in Hotly Contested U.S. House Race


Congressional primaries were held on Tuesday in New Jersey. Some contests remain too close to call, so this post will be updated as results are determined. Full context about women in the 2020 elections, including candidate lists, summaries, results from previous primaries, and historical comparisons, are available via the Center for American Women and Politics’ Election Watch page.

Among the most notable results for women:

  • In NJ-02, Amy Kennedy won the Democratic primary and will challenge incumbent Representative Jeff Van Drew in November. Van Drew was elected to his seat during the 2018 midterms running as a Democrat, but has since switched parties and won the Republican nomination yesterday.
  • Incumbent freshman Representative Mikie Sherrill (D), who was unopposed in her primary, will face Republican nominee Rosemary Becchi in the NJ-11 general election in a woman vs. woman contest. Learn more about this year’s woman vs. woman races, and these contests through history, here.
  • Bonnie Watson Coleman (D), the first and only woman of color to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Congress, won her primary yesterday in NJ-12 and is strongly favored to win re-election in the fall. She is also the only woman of color to win a major-party nomination for U.S. House from New Jersey in 2020.


U.S. Senate

On Tuesday, 2 (2R) women candidates were unsuccessful in their bids for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Senator Cory Booker (D). No woman has ever served in the U.S. Senate from New Jersey.


U.S. House

There are currently 2 (2D) women in New Jersey’s 12-member delegation to the U.S. House.

Women are 7 (4D, 3R) of 22 (31.2%) major-party nominees already selected for U.S. House in New Jersey, including 4 of 12 (27.3%) Democrats and 3 of 11 (27.3%) Republicans. 7 (6D, 1R) women House candidates were unsuccessful in their primary bids in New Jersey.

  • Incumbent Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) and Mikie Sherrill (D) are nominees for re-election in November.  
    • Representative Mikie Sherrill (D) was unopposed in the Democratic primary election in New Jersey’s 11th congressional district. She will face Rosemary Becchi (R) – who was unopposed in the Republican primary – in November in an all-woman contest that is currently rated as “Likely Democratic” by Cook Political Report.
    • Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) is strongly favored to win re-election this fall in New Jersey’s 12th congressional district. Coleman is the only woman of color major-party nominee for the U.S. House from New Jersey this year. She is also the first and only woman of color to serve in Congress from New Jersey.
  • 5 (2D, 3R) women will run as challengers to incumbents in November.
    • Amy Kennedy (D) won the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district to challenge incumbent Representative Jeff Van Drew (R), who won his seat as a Democrat in 2018 and has since changed his party to Republican. This contest is currently rated as “Lean Republican” by Cook Political Report.
    • Stephanie Schmid (D) won the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 4th congressional district to challenge incumbent Representative Chris Smith (R) this fall. This general election contest is currently rated as “Solid Republican” by Cook Political Report.
    • Claire Gustafson (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary to challenge incumbent Representative Donald Norcross (D) in New Jersey’s 1st congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.
    • Jen Zinone (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary to challenge incumbent Representative Donald Payne, Jr. (D) in New Jersey’s 10th congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.
    • Rosemary Becchi (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary to challenge incumbent Representative Mikie Sherrill (D) in New Jersey’s 11th congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Likely Democratic” by Cook Political Report.