Last week, we told you that Rep. Frank Pallone — Central New Jersey's decades-long Democratic congressman — is being challenged this year by two far-left progressives, Russell "Russ" Cirincione and Amani Al-Khatahtbeh.
And this week, Cirincione secured the nomination of former presidential contender Andrew Yang.
Yang and his non-profit Humanity Forward announced its endorsement of Cirincione on Wednesday. In an email to supporters, Yang made the following statement:
“When I spoke with Russ, he told me he was running for Congress to fight for his 3-year old son. Climate change will cause catastrophic physical and economic destruction within our lifetimes. Russ will fight to the bone to address climate change and for Universal Basic Income. His opponent, Frank Pallone, has declined to join the Emergency Cash Relief Bill in Congress. Russ for Us!”
Yang and his team called Cirincione "a progressive Democrat running to represent New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District. In the midst of COVID-19, Cirincione has advocated for universal basic income of $2,000 a month and $500 per child to support families and local businesses. Cirincione’s campaign is focused on protecting our environment and shoreline, creating jobs with the Green New Deal while promoting several of Yang’s policies."
“I am humbled by the endorsement of Andrew Yang and Humanity Forward," said Cirincione. "Due to their advocacy and public service, the national conversation now overwhelmingly supports a Freedom Dividend that is crucial for equitable economic justice during the COVID-19 crisis."
As Patch reported, both Cirincione and Amani are progressives running in the vein of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Similar to what Sanders attempted — but failed to do — at the presidential level, they seek to destabilize existing Democratic Party office holders, many of whom have been entrenched in public office for years.
Cirincione is a 2013 Seton Hall Law School grad and government housing attorney. In his career, he has advocated for legislation that protects tenants and rent stabilization. Cirincione describes himself as a "New Deal Democrat," who supports not only universal basic income ($1,000 a month per adult and $500 per child), but also the Green New Deal and universal healthcare, in the form of Medicare for All, according to his campaign website.
Al-Khatahtbeh, 27, is a Rutgers grad and founder and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com, a popular news and opinion site about Muslim womanhood in the U.S. She is also a supporter of Medicare for All, student loan forgiveness and says she wants to continue Sanders' movement. Al-Khatahtbeh is also a supporter of the Green New Deal; while at Rutgers, she was part of a student-led movement to push the university to divest from fossil fuels.
Humanity Forward is a non-profit dedicated to continuing the movement inspired by Yang's 2020 presidential campaign.
Pallone represents New Jersey's sixth congressional district, which stretches from Woodbridge down to Asbury Park, and includes Bayshore towns like Matawan, Hazlet and parts of Middletown. Pallone has represented this area in Congress since 1993 and is considered one of New Jersey's leading Democrat voices. He is a regular critic of President Trump.
The primary election is July 7 and will be vote by mail due to the coronavirus.