Update: With the DCCC backing Jeff Van Drew, he prevailed over Tanzie Youngblood in the Democratic primary for New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district on June 5, 2018. Van Drew then flipped the district blue in the 2018 midterm elections, beating Republican Seth Grossman. When the House voted to approve universal background checks legislation (H.R. 8) on February 27, 2019, Rep. Van Drew voted for a motion to recommit to amend H.R. 8 introduced by Republican Congressman Doug Collins of Georgia. Van Drew and 25 other defecting Democrats helped Collins and Republicans add language to the bill that would require the notification of ICE whenever an undocumented immigrant attempts to buy a gun.
A disturbing story has emerged from New Jersey where Tanzie Youngblood, a retired school teacher and first-time black female candidate for Congress, was spurned by the Democratic State Committee of Salem County and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in favor of Jeff Van Drew, a white state senator with a 100% rating from the National Rifle Association.
Youngblood decided to run in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District after Republican incumbent Frank LoBiondo retired. She expected to have the support of her party and was shocked when Salem County New Jersey Democratic State Committee chair Steven Caltabiano told her that she had “no chance” to win the primary. He indicated the committee would be endorsing his friend of 14 years, Jeff Van Drew. At that point, Van Drew hadn’t even announced he was running.
Then the DCCC endorsed Van Drew on February 21 as part of its “Red to Blue” program, saying he had delivered “real results” for “children.” In truth, Van Drew is so pro-gun he opposed all attempts at gun reform in New Jersey after Sandy Hook. To this day, Van Drew has not released any public statement on the Parkland shooting. The DCCC’s endorsement dealt a serious blow to Youngblood’s fundraising campaign, which she is having to self-finance through loans.
Unlike Van Drew, Tanzie supports gun control. “We have to live up to the expectations of our children,” she said during a recent debate. “You see the children every day on the news. They’re telling us we need stricter gun laws.”
Please take one or more of the following actions to support Tanzie Youngblood against this injustice:
1) Contact the DCCC’s regional vice chair for the Northeast, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), through one of the channels below and give him the following message (personalized to your liking):
Congressman, I learned about the DCCC’s endorsement of Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district and am absolutely outraged by it. For you, as DCCC Northeast regional vice chair, to support a state senator with a 100% rating from the National Rifle Association over a gun reform champion like Tanzie Youngblood is just disgusting. And do not tell me that Tanzie cannot prevail in a district that Trump carried by just 4 percentage points in 2016. We are seeing Blue Wave elections in far tougher Red districts and you know it. I demand that the DCCC abstain from spending money in NJ’s 2nd congressional district until after the Democratic primary on June 5, 2018. If you do not, I am going to hold you personally responsible for this injustice and focus my attention on removing you from office, peacefully and democratically. Your decision smacks of racism and bad judgment and it will not be tolerated by Democats nationwide who believe in equality and the urgent moral imperative to save lives being stolen by gun violence.
Congressman Joe Kennedy III
Phone: (202) 225-5931 or (508) 431-1110
2) Support Tanzie Youngblood’s campaign in one of the following ways:
- Sign up for her email list: https://youngbloodforcongress.com/sign-up/
- Make a donation: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/tanzieyoungblood
- Volunteer to help her campaign on the ground: https://youngbloodforcongress.com/volunteer/
3) Contact Salem County New Jersey Democratic State Committee chairman Steven Caltabiano through one of the channels below and give him the following message (personalized to your liking):
Mr. Caltablano, I could not care less if Jeff Van Drew is your “friend.” The fact that the Salem County New Jersey Democratic State Committee is supporting a white man with a 100% rating from the National Rifle Association (Jeff Van Drew) over a black woman who is a true champion of children and gun reform (Tanzie Youngblood) smacks of racism and bad judgment. You should be ashamed of yourself, sir. And the notion that Tanzie cannot prevail in a district that Donald Trump carried by just 4 points in 2016 is absolute nonsense given the Blue Waves we are seeing in far tougher Red districts. Your committee’s endorsement of Van Drew is cronyism at its worst and I will be doing everything in my power—peacefully and democratically—to make sure you and the committee are held accountable for it. If you have any intent of demonstrating democratic values, it’s time for you to put your committee’s full weight behind a gun reform candidate like Tanzie Youngblood.
Salem County NJ Dem. State Committee chair Steven Caltabiano
Phone: (856) 498-5269
Once you have taken one or more of the above actions, click the orange banner below to report taking action!