According to a report in Politico, Democratic lawmaker Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ) is not being welcomed with open arms by Republicans in his district after word got out that he is planning on switching parties following lobbying from President Donald Trump.
With polling in his district showing he was facing an uphill climb for re-election the Democrat, who is considered fairly conservative and has opposed the impeachment of Trump, is expected to announce the switch soon with reports stating he has already informed his staffers of the imminent move.
That move, though, is not necessarily exciting Republicans in his district — including local party leaders who already have candidates jockeying for position to be the House nominee in 2020.
According to Doug Long, a former Cumberland County Democratic chairman, Van Drew was already in trouble within his own party.
“The large majority of our party in Cumberland really isn’t or wasn’t happy with [Van Drew’s] approach on impeachment,” he explained, adding, “That really has little to do with local politics, until it becomes a part of local politics.”
According to Politico, “Van Drew’s political conversion doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be the GOP nominee. Three Republicans had already declared their candidacies for his seat. And while Trump’s backing would be politically potent, it would have to overcome hard GOP feelings from decades of tough election battles against Van Drew.”
One Republican vying for Van Drew’s seat wasted no time attacking the party-switcher, saying the lawmaker is “trying to use South Jersey Republicans to cling onto his power.”
“How stupid does Desperate Jeff Van Drew think South Jersey Republicans are? Desperate Jeff knew exactly what Washington Democrats were about when he ran for Congress two years ago,” Brian Fitzherbert said.
Keith Davis, the Republican chairman of Atlantic County, was also cool to the idea of Van Drew running for his seat as a Republican.
“We have a process, and we’ll see how it goes,” Davis said. “We’ve got three candidates in the race right now, we have a convention in the spring and I’m sure it will be an interesting one.”
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