Jeff Van Drew, Who Quit Democrats Over Impeachment, Re-elected as Republican

President Donald Trump meets with Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., who is planning to switch his party affiliation, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
AP Photo / Evan Vucci

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), who left the Democratic Party last year because it impeached President Donald Trump, has officially won re-election, the Associated Press reported Friday.

It is very rare for members of Congress to switch parties, and even rarer for them to win re-election after doing so.

Van Drew blamed the growing intolerance and radicalism of his party for pushing him away.

“This is who I am. It’s who I always was, but there was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, of Blue Dog Democrats, of Conservative Democrats, and I think that’s going away,” Van Drew told reporters at the White House after he announced his switch.

Van Drew quoted the late President Ronald Reagan: “I didn’t leave my party, my party left me.” He also pledged to support Trump in 2020.

Democrats had hoped to pick up the seat in 2020 as a way of punishing Van Drew for his defection.

Instead, voters rewarded Van Drew for switching parties — and punished Democrats for impeachment.

Van Drew’s victory cements Republicans’ strong performance in House races. Democrats expected to pick up seats on the strength of anti-Trump sentiment.

But Trump turned out Republican voters and helped down-ticket candidates — even if he appeared poised to lose the presidential election on Friday, pending recounts and court challenges, after continuing vote counts in battleground states.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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