Democrat Rep. Jeff Van Drew reportedly plans to switch parties and become a Republican amid a firestorm of controversy over his opposition to impeaching President Trump.
The conservative first-term lawmaker from South Jersey met with Trump Friday and told colleagues about his intended partisan switcheroo Saturday, Politico reported, citing several sources familiar with the decision.
Trump will undoubtedly hail the move as a sign that the impeachment “hoax” is faltering just as the full House of Representatives prepares to vote on impeachment this coming week.
Van Drew was one of two Democrats who opposed opening the impeachment investigation into Trump in the first place, along with Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
All Republicans voted against the impeachment probe, although Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Tea Party conservative, quit the party after calling for Trump’s impeachment.
Democrats hope that just a handful of lawmakers will vote against impeaching Trump. Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island), a prominent skeptic of impeachment, announced Friday that he would vote for impeachment.
Unlike Peterson, who is a veteran lawmaker, Van Drew is a newcomer to Washington D.C. who won his South Jersey seat in the 2018 Democratic #BlueWave midterms landslide after longtime Republican Rep. Frank Lo Biondo retired.
A recent internal poll showed Van Drew, a conservative who has opposed gun control restrictions and same-sex marriage, was in serious trouble with Democrats in his swing district.
Just 24% of Democratic primary voters said he should be the party’s nominee, a recent poll commissioned by his own campaign found.
It’s unlikely that Van Drew will get a cakewalk in his new party either. Several candidates were already planning to run for the GOP nod and he is likely to face stiff opposition in a district where he is well known as a Democrat, albeit an iconoclastic one.
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