Democratic New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew , one of only two Democrats to vote against convening an impeachment hearing has informed his staff that he will be switching parties. Van Drew is a true moderate and he voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Democrats who have spoken to him say it is no longer a matter of if but of when.
Van Drew was afraid that if he didn’t leave the party they would run someone more extreme against him in the primary and besides the Democratic party has moved so far to the left, they would need a passport to get back to the middle. That takes the Republican’s magic number to regain control of the House from 19 to 18.
There has been a lot of tension between party leaders and reps who represent districts that Trump won in 2016. There were 31 of them but with Van Drews defection, there are now 30 of them left. The impeachment vote next week will tell the story on how deep their trepidation really is. I’m hoping it passes and signs the Democratic party’s chances in the 2020 election.
Van Drew had been under discussions with senior Trump administration officials about switching parties, according to a Saturday report from The New York Times.
A moderate Democrat who has been a firm opponent of impeaching President Donald Trump, Van Drew was reportedly considering the switch in part to avoid a Democratic primary challenge in his district.
An official announcement from the congressman could come next week. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee cleared the way on Friday for a full House vote on impeachment, which could take place as early as Wednesday.
The Times report was sourced anonymously by one Republican and two Democrats. The Republican source claimed that ongoing conversations between the two parties “intensified late last week” and that Van Drew was “nervous about losing his seat, either in a Democratic primary or the general election.”