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Politics Van Drew draws Democratic challenger amid plans to switch parties

21:07  16 december  2019
21:07  16 december  2019 Source:   thehill.com

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, anti-impeachment Democrat, expected to switch parties after Trump meeting

  Rep. Jeff Van Drew, anti-impeachment Democrat, expected to switch parties after Trump meeting Trump met with Van Drew on Friday at the White House and urged him to join the GOP; the New Jersey congressman is now believed to be strongly considering the offer.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew has drawn his first Democratic challenger since moving over the weekend to switch political parties and become a Republican.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Van Drew draws Democratic challenger amid plans to switch parties© Greg Nash Van Drew draws Democratic challenger amid plans to switch parties

Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University, announced on Monday that she would run to unseat Van Drew from his southern New Jersey congressional district in 2020 after he told aides that he planned to become a Republican following a White House meeting with President Trump.

"Jeff Van Drew made a choice," Harrison said in a statement sent to reporters. "He has repeatedly ignored the voices of our community and has instead sold his soul, cutting backroom deals with the White House."

Trump on Democrat's reported switch to GOP: 'Wow that would be big'

  Trump on Democrat's reported switch to GOP: 'Wow that would be big' President Trump early Sunday weighed in on reports that Democratic Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.), a vocal opponent of impeachment, plans to switch parties."Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart!" Trump said in a tweet.Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart! https://t.co/7yDPU4N3wd- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2019"Thank you for your honesty Jeff. All of the Democrats know you are right, but unlike you, they don't have the 'guts' to say so!" The president added in another post.Thank you for your honesty Jeff. All of the but unlike you, they don't have the "guts" to say so! https://t.

"Whether you are a Democratic, Republican, or Independent, the last thing the people of the 2nd Congressional District need or want is to elect a blind pawn for Donald Trump."

Van Drew, a moderate who was among the Democratic Party's most vocal opponents of ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump, flipped New Jersey's Republican-held 2nd District in 2018. Trump won the district in 2016 by just under 5 percentage points.

Even before news of his planned party switch broke over the weekend, Van Drew was expected to oppose Trump's impeachment, prompting chatter that he could face a primary from his left in 2020.

Van Drew's decision to switch parties amid the impeachment proceedings underscores the political pressure faced by first-term Democrats who helped flip Republican-leaning districts in last year's midterm elections. Many of those members won in districts that Trump carried in 2016.

Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP

  Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP Five top staffers to freshman Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.) resigned Sunday, citing the freshman lawmaker's decision to join the Republican Party after a meeting with President Trump.In a letter to Allison Murphy, Van Drew's chief of staff, the senior aides said that Van Drew's pending jump to the GOP "does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office," adding that they were "saddened and disappointed by his decision.

But Van Drew's decision carries risks, as well. Democrats have already accused him of selling out his values and his party in order to buoy his reelection prospects in 2020. And seven of his aides in Washington resigned over the weekend, saying that his "decision to join the ranks of Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office."

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), one of the state's two Democratic senators and a presidential candidate, called earlier on Monday for his supporters to mobilize against Van Drew and donate to a fund supporting his eventual Democratic challenger.

Harrison appears likely to seize on Van Drew's party switch in her campaign. The topic is front and center on her campaign website.

"When Jeff Van Drew went to Washington, the first thing he did was take an oath to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,' " a post on her website reads. "But Congressman Van Drew's actions make it clear he is putting his own political interests ahead of his oath to the Constitution and those who elected him in South Jersey."

Jeff Van Drew: 'Final sign' for him to switch parties was being told he had to vote for impeachment .
New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew said the "final sign" for him to switch parties was being told that he had to vote in support of impeachment of President Donald Trump. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Van Drew recalled how he was told by a New Jersey Democratic county party chair that he would not be successful in winning reelection if he votes "no" on impeachment. "One of the county chairman came to me and said, 'I have to speak with you.

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