Congressman Jeff Van Drew is a former New Jersey Democrat, who broke with his caucus and voted against the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, and pledged the Republican president his “undying support.”
Van Drew is slated to speak on Thursday, August 27, at the Republican National Convention, a few speakers before Trump delivers his acceptance speech from the White House.
He has been challenged for his seat representing the 2nd Congressional District by Amy Kennedy, who says in a new ad that Van Drew “stopped working for South Jersey and started working for himself,” the New Jersey Globe reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
Van Drew Officially Left the Democratic Party in December 2019 After Voting Against Trump’s Impeachment & Pleding His ‘Undying Support’
In the lead-up to Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives, Van Drew was one of three Democratic lawmakers to vote against at least one article of impeachment, Huffington Post reported.
He announced he was officially switching parties in a joint news conference with Trump on December 19, 2019, saying the Republican Party was “just a better fit” for him and that Trump could count on his “undying support.”
It wasn’t the first time Van Drew broke with the larger party, Politico reported. He was unpopular with progressives in his district, based on votes against gay marriage, a higher minimum wage and stricter gun control.
After he announced he would join Trump’s party, senior members of his staff resigned in protest, CNN’s Manu Raju reported.
Sadly, Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of the Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office,” they wrote, adding, “We greatly respect Congressman Van Drew and are deeply saddened and disappointed by his decision. As such, we can no longer in good conscience continue our service in the congressman’s employ.”
Van Drew said, in a Thursday Fox News op-ed, that his former party no longer supported debate and free speech, and called their policies “communistic” and their language “ignorant.”
“America is under immense pressure to turn its back on the things that have made it exceptional,” Van Drew said. “Make no mistake, many proposals put forth by the House majority in this Congress, while cloaked in the language of good intentions, are not governed by truth and are communistic in nature.”
The Race Between Van Drew & Amy Kennedy, Who Has Hammered Him on His Party Switch, Was Tight on the Eve of the Republican National Convention
Amy Kennedy is a South Jersey native and the wife of former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, challenging Van Drew for his 2nd District seat.
On Thursday she released a new ad scorching Van Drew for his party switch, noting that Trump has raised money for the former Democrat’s campaign and held a rally in his honor.
“Jeff Van Drew stopped working for South Jersey and started working for himself,” the ad says, continuing, “He has stopped doing his job,” and ending with a clip of Trump shouting, “I’m sorry; you’re fired. Get out of here.”
As of August 13, Kennedy held a 6-point lead over Van Drew, according to the New Jersey Globe. The race later tightened, giving Van Drew a three-point lead over Kennedy, the Press of Atlantic City reported.
Van Drew is slated to speak toward the end of Thursday’s convention finale, after Ivanka Trump, according to C-SPAN’s schedule. You can live stream the convention here.