Logan mayor enters fray for congressional seat vacated by Andrews

Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor (right) gets a hug from Councilwoman Doris Hall after entering the First Congressional District race.
Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor (right) gets a hug from Councilwoman Doris Hall after entering the First Congressional District race. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 29, 2014

SWEDESBORO Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor entered the race for South Jersey's First Congressional District seat Thursday, challenging the party establishment-backed candidate, State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden).

At a small gathering at the Holiday Inn in Swedesboro, Minor said he was running for the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.) "to change the status quo."

"I think that it is fair to say that most of us are frustrated with what has been happening in our government," he said. "Too often political leaders seem to care more about those who finance their campaigns than the people they represent."

Minor was elected mayor of Logan in 2003, the first African American to hold that post, and has served three consecutive terms. Once a Republican, he switched parties in 2007. Minor called job creation his priority and pointed to the township's Economic Development Committee, which he created, as evidence he can bring in businesses.

More than 60 businesses have come to Logan since 2006, he said, and the township has an unemployment rate of 5 percent. The state rate is 7.1 percent.

Minor also sits on the bistate Delaware River and Bay Authority as deputy executive director.

Norcross announced he would run less than 24 hours after Andrews resigned in February. Endorsements started pouring in for him, including from Andrews, and more than 100 area political figures and other supporters attended a kickoff news conference last month.

A spokesman for the Norcross for Congress campaign said Thursday, "We welcome anyone into this race."

Minor, at a gathering of about 40 people bereft of high-profile political figures, said he knows it's an uphill battle against the party's leadership.

"I don't have the resources, I don't have that, but whatever I have, I intend to use to get the message out," he said. "We have an opportunity to make a difference. I will do all things necessary to represent the people because I'm not a part of the machine. I'm an independent thinker and I'm a Democrat."

The June 13 primary will likely determine who wins the seat in the heavily Democratic district.

The seat will be vacant until November unless Gov. Christie calls a special election.

Republican Gary Cobb, a former Eagles linebacker, has said he intends to run.

Minor is the only candidate to turn in his paperwork. The filing deadline for the primary is Monday.

Geno Monroe, born in Camden and currently a resident of Woolwich Township, said he wants to see Minor take a similar approach to Camden as he did to Logan Township.

"If he lives up to his name, he'll do the right thing, he'll be frank with us," Monroe said. "I'm impressed with what he's done here. I think he's the right man for the job."

Amir Khan, a pastor who made an unsuccessful bid against incumbent Dana L. Redd for mayor of Camden last fall, said victory over South Jersey's heavy hitters is possible.

"People are ready for a grassroots movement," Khan said. "There will be people who will say, enough is enough."


jterruso@phillynews.com

856-779-3876 @juliaterruso

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