Van Drew’s Top Republican Opponent Switched Districts, Will Challenge Andy Kim Instead

January 29, 2020 Updated: January 29, 2020

Republican David Richter, has switched districts and joined the race for Congress in the district represented by Rep. Andy Kim (D–N.J.). He was the top Republican opponent of Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) before Van Drew left the Democratic party over House Democrats impeaching President Donald Trump.

“I have endorsed Jeff Van Drew and will support his re-election campaign,” said Richter according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The decision was announced the day before President Donald Trump’s rally in Wildwood, NJ, in the district represented by Van Drew.

On Jan. 28, Richter attended the Trump rally in Wildwood and gave a speech. Richter said, “Jeff [Van Drew] is going to win in November because he knows how to deliver for South Jersey, … He’s tough. He gets the job done … Jeff is going to win in November because he stood with President Trump and voted against this impeachment farce,” as reported by New Jersey Globe.

Richter is “the former Chief Executive Officer of Hill International, a New York Stock Exchange-listed global professional services firm that provides construction management services on building and infrastructure projects worldwide,“ according to the website David Richter for Congress. He holds five degrees in management, civil engineering, and law from the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and the University of Oxford.

Richter, 53, said, “he became interested in running for Congress because he wanted to help restore Republicans to the majority in the House. He originally decided to challenge for Van Drew’s seat,” according to Burlington County Times. However, after Van Drew flipped parties, Richter, a native of Burlington County, where he grew up and where the headquarters of his family business, Hill International are located, decided to run for congress in the district. Burlington is his home county, which is currently represented by Kim, reported Burlington County Times.

While running in the neighboring district for the seat of freshman Democrat Andy Kim, Richter will compete with three Republican candidates—Kate Gibbs, a former Burlington County freeholder, who is already endorsed by the county GOP, also John Novak who currently serves as the Mayor of Barnegat, NJ, and Anthony Porto, a former Mayor of Hainesport, NJ.

No Democratic competitor has filed for the primary, according to Ballotpedia.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) speaks during a rally and news conference ahead of a House vote on health care and prescription drug legislation in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol May 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) speaks during a rally and news conference ahead of a House vote on health care and prescription drug legislation in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol on May 15, 2019, in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Campaign Promises

Kim, a freshman Democrat, was elected in 2018 and won by a slim margin of fewer than 4,000 votes, defeating Republican Tom MacArthur, according to Ballotpedia. In 2016 Trump won this district by six points, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Richter promises to use his private-sector experience to promote reforms that will reduce government spending to balance the federal budget and work to enact reforms to “incentivize entrepreneurship,” cut taxes, and promote the growth of small and family-owned businesses, according to website David Richter for Congress.

He also supports securing the southern border and the immigration reform that “will oppose across-the-board amnesty,” and “seek to ban so-called sanctuary cities and states,” He will defend the Second Amendment, and promote “market-based” health care reform, that will “drive down the cost of medical care and prescription drugs,” while improving its quality, according to his statement on the website.

A Kim campaign slogan says, “Serving the American People. Not Corporations,” according to his campaign website. His promises include introducing campaign finance reform, fight corruption in government, and end gerrymandering. Kim supports tax cuts, “unions, project labor agreements, a livable wage, safe work environments, and other critical initiatives that help American workers navigate the uncertainty,” states the campaign website. He proposes to improve the health care system by covering everyone, reducing prescription drug costs, and other means.

At the beginning of the year, Richter had $515,000 in campaign funding, mostly from his assets, and Gibbs had $135,000. Kim had $2.2 million, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.