NEW JERSEY – U.S. Representative Jefferson Van Drew will be Democrat no longer. Recent national news reports inform that Van Drew is making plans to switch parties and become a Republican.
A Dec. 14 report by The New York Times stated that Van Drew informed his aides of the switch, which could happen “as soon as next week, just as the House is casting its historic votes on articles of impeachment.”
Van Drew, who resides in Dennis Township in Cape May, NJ, represents the 2nd Congressional District. Comprised of municipalities throughout Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties, the 2nd Congressional District also includes the following southern Ocean County municipalities: Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Eagleswood, Harvey Cedars, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom, part of Stafford Township, Surf City, and Tuckerton.
Part of the 2018 “blue wave,” Van Drew took office in 2018 after his win over Republican opponent Seth Grossman. Van Drew succeeds Republican US Rep. Frank LoBiondo, 24-year veteran of the House of Representatives.
The Washington Post called Van Drew the “vocal anti-impeachment Dem,” as he is one of only two Democrats openly against the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The initial NYT report cited anonymous sources who said that Trump urged Van Drew to make the switch during a recent meeting.
In response to the news of Van Drew’s strong consideration of switching political parties, President Trump tweeted: “Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart!”
An updated Dec. 16 report by the NYT stated that, following the news, seven of Van Drew’s aides resigned.
Several national news outlets have signaled to lower approval ratings for Van Drew as one motivator for jumping the Democratic ship.
“According to a survey conducted between Dec. 7 and Dec. 10, just 24 percent of respondents think he deserves to be reelected, while 60 percent said they want someone new to represent them,” reported Politico.
Others, including CNN, report that the switch “seems entirely driven by his feeling on impeachment as, on other issues, he is a moderate Democrat.”
On the more local front, Governor Phil Murphy made known his disapproval of Van Drew’s party switch, calling it a choice between his political career and the Constitution.
“He’s trying to be cute instead of courageous, I think it’s outrageous,” Murphy said in an interview with MSNBC, noting that he thinks Van Drew is choosing his political career over doing what is right.
No official statement had been released by Van Drew’s office as of print time.