Former Democrat and new Republican Party member from New Jersey, Jeff Van Drew, gained a 5 percentage point advantage over Democrat Amy Kennedy, which led to his victory for the 2nd Congressional District.
Van Drew was criticized by his former party for disagreeing with the impeachment of President Trump.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, at the beginning of the year Van Drew announced his intentions to change parties, causing mockery and criticism from his former Democratic colleagues who, together with experts, predicted that he would lose re-election in 2020.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), called Van Drew’s decision to change parties a “terrible thing.”
Regarding his decision to oppose the impeachment against Trump, Pascrell said, “You make a commitment. That doesn’t mean you’ve got to vote every way that the majority or the leadership asks you to vote. Certainly, it means you owe something to the organization who put you where you are.”
Pascrell also hinted that Van Drew’s betrayal deserved a violent response. “You know how we would have handled this in Paterson,” Pascrell referring to his hometown.
He added that Van Drew would no longer be welcome to set foot on the Democratic side of the House, as reported by the Free Beacon.
The decision of the now Republican representative to abandon the Democrats was motivated by the fact that, according to him, the Democrats did not believe in the ‘exceptionalism of the United States,’ which provoked criticism from the liberal wing, even from several celebrities such as filmmaker Rob Reiner.
During an interview with MSNBC, Reiner criticized Van Drew for working with the Russians.
“Are we now saying that we’re just going to give ourselves over to the Russians? We beat them in the Cold War, and they’re beating us now in the cyberwar. And if we don’t stand up to them, it could be the end of our democracy. And I’m sorry if you lose your seat, but we’ve got to stand up for democracy,” Reiner said.
Van Drew was endorsed by President Trump in the race for the House seat in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District during a meeting at the White House in December 2019.
During Trump’s speech, Van Drew said, “He made me feel more welcome in the Oval Office than Nancy Pelosi made me feel in her group,” according to Fox News.
According to Politico, with 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Van Drew outperformed Kennedy by approximately 5 percentage points, or 14,500 votes. Thousands of votes have yet to be counted.
Van Drew’s victory keeps New Jersey’s House delegation down to 10 Democrats and two Republicans.