New Jersey Democrat outspoken against Trump impeachment expected to switch parties, source says
New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a freshman Democrat who strongly opposes impeachment, is expected to switch to the Republican Party and is telling colleagues his intentions, according to a senior Democratic aide.
Van Drew was one of just two Democrats who in October voted against formalizing the impeachment inquiry, and announced earlier this month that he would vote against all articles of impeachment on the House floor. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote next week on two House Judiciary Committee-approved articles of impeachment, which will set up a trial in the Senate.
The Washington Post, citing officials, first reported Saturday that Van Drew is expected to join the Republican Party “in the coming days,” and The New York Times reported the congressman could make an announcement as soon as next week.
CNN has reached out to Van Drew’s office and the Trump administration for comment. Van Drew, his chief of staff and communications director did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment Saturday.
According to the Post, Van Drew denied on Tuesday that he was switching parties.
“I’m not changing anything — just doing my job. I’m still a Democrat, right here,” he told the Post in a brief interview.
Van Drew said last week that he plans to vote against all articles of impeachment “unless there’s something that I haven’t seen, haven’t heard before.”
After voting against the formal inquiry in October, the New Jersey congressman said in a statement that “without bipartisan support I believe this inquiry will further divide the country tearing it apart at the seams and will ultimately fail in the Senate.”
Van Drew replaced a Republican in 2018 to represent New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, which Trump won in 2016.
New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District had been held by former Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo for 24 years before Van Drew won election in 2018. In that race, Van Drew ran against a Republican candidate, who after making racist remarks, lost the support of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The district had previously voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, before voting for Trump in 2016.
Internal polling has shown Van Drew was losing major support from Democrats in the district, Democratic sources told CNN Saturday.