Michelle Caffrey / South Jersey Times March 27, 2014 at 5:06:15 PM EDT
The race for the First Congressional District widened on Thursday, as Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor announced he would challenge State Sen. Donald Norcross (D-5 of Camden) in a Democratic primary.
Minor made his candidacy official at the Holiday Inn in Logan to a small crowd of supporters and stressed his focus on creating jobs, support of the Affordable Care Act and position as a political outsider from the “Norcross machine.”
Minor, who’s in his 11th year as mayor of the township, is hoping to fill the seat left vacant by former U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, who stepped down in February.
Minor faces an uphill battle, however, as Norcross — brother of South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross — has already collected a laundry list of endorsements from local Democratic leaders.
Minor, however, said he’s not worried.
“I think Democrats are Democrats and people understand this is an open seat,” said Minor. “I feel I have a right to run, and I feel I have something to offer.”
He said his previous business experience, his efforts promoting economic development in Logan Township and his one-on-one experiences with constituents set him apart from his opponent.
“My work day-to-day with residents gives me an advantage,” Minor said. “It puts me in a unique position to address the needs that are most important.”
Minor — who ran as a Republican when first elected in 2003, but switched parties in 2007 citing “basic and irreconcilable differences” with Logan Republicans — said he looks forward to running a “positive campaign” against Norcross. He stressed that he wasn’t a part of the “Norcross machine.”
"And we all know what that is,” Minor said.
He also lauded Logan Township’s 5 percent unemployment rate stating “anybody looking for a job in Logan Township can find one.”
Minor has gained political traction in recent years, including being appointed as deputy executive director of the Delaware River & Bay Authority and to the steering committee of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
He served as the floor whip for the New Jersey delegation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and a district delegate at the DNC in 2012. He was also reportedly on state Sen. Barbara Buono’s short list for running mates during her gubernatorial campaign.
On the Republican side of the race, former Philadelphia Eagle and media personality Garry Cobb has expressed interest in running for the open seat.