Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has endorsed Brian Varela, who is challenging the party establishment’s pick to represent New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District Democratic primary.
Varela is bidding for the open seat currently held by incumbent Rep. Albio Sires, who announced that he would retire when his term ends in 2023.
Varela, 33, is a successful Hudson County entrepreneur with a strong background in sales, digital marketing, food distribution, and human resources management system software.
He has positioned himself as an anti-establishment candidate, touting positions such as universal health care, childcare, and education reform.
With six flourishing businesses, he weathered the pandemic without laying off a single employee. He brings a strong work ethic to his campaign, along with a pragmatic approach to progressive values and a deep commitment to the diverse CD-8 community.
“Government needs to work for the people,” says Varela. “Making life better for the people of my district — not serving the political machine — is my top priority. This is a people’s campaign.”
Varela’s opponent is the unaccomplished son of corrupt US Senator Bob Menendez, Robert Menendez Jr., who was recently appointed to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board of commissioners by Gov. Phil Murphy.
The appointment is a high-profile political opportunity for the younger Menendez, an attorney with Lowenstein Sandler who has flirted with running for elected office but .
Progressive organizer Ricardo Rojas planned to seek the Democratic nomination but abandoned the race after concluding that “the runway is too short; that success is not a logistical possibility.”
Republicans only need to flip five seats in November to regain control of the House, so Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump are devoting every resource to help their extremist candidates but whoever wins the primary election on June 7 is likely to win in the general election in the heavily Democratic 8th Congressional District.
New Jersey’s political establishment almost immediately backed the Senator’s son, even before he announced his intention to run for Congress, despite the unresolved federal corruption indictment that resulted in a hung jury and dismal performance in his last campaign fo renomination, when an underfunded progressive challenger earned the support of almost four out of ten Democratic voters.
“The people don’t need a political dynasty,” says Varela. “They need a Congressman who understands what it means to work hard and to build your own future. I know that life. I’ve lived that life, having worked to support my parents and my brother from the time I was 18.”
With a focus on universal childcare, universal healthcare, education reform, and electoral reform, Varela is committed to supporting the needs of his district. Andrew Yang believes that Varela brings something important to the CD-8 race. “I really connected with Brian,” says Yang. “We are very similar” — both political outsiders, entrepreneurs inspired by a genuine desire to make a difference.
The endorsement from someone of Yang’s stature is a sign that Varela’s message is resonating.
“New Jersey needs leaders like Brian Varela — leaders who are willing to think independently and work for their constituents, not just ride the coattails of a political dynasty,” said the challenger’s campaign manager.