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NJ Working Families Director Sue Altman. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Altman: Van Drew defection unsurprising

Activist blames Norcross, county chairs for congressman’s switch

By Nikita Biryukov, December 14 2019 5:14 pm

NJ Working Families director Sue Altman was not surprised by news of Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s impending party switch Saturday.

“No one who knows Jeff Van Drew’s career is surprised by today’s party switch. Everyone in New Jersey politics was fully aware Van Drew has, for decades, been a Republican disguised as a Democrat,” she said. “As a ‘Democrat,’ Van Drew has a 100% rating from the NRA, voted against marriage equality, and even championed a tax cut for yacht owners.”

Van Drew, a staunch opponent of impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, is set to switch his party affiliation over the coming days.

On Saturday, the New Jersey Globe reported Van Drew’s chief of staff had told members of the congressman’s campaign and congressional staffs that the first-term representative would be moving to the Republican party.

Some of those told have indicated they will resign.

Altman laid the blame for Van Drew’s defection at the feet of South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross, who was Van Drew’s benefactor during the years the congressman spent in the legislature.

“Norcross was responsible for Van Drew’s ascent, and we should blame him for Van Drew’s defection to Trump as well,” she said. “This is also a black eye for the DCCC and the County Party Chairs in South Jersey, who backed Van Drew against primary opponents who might have actually behaved like a Democrat.”

Altman is one of a number of progressive activists feuding with the Norcross wing of the party.

“It’s clear that the Democratic establishment can’t deliver the leadership South Jersey needs,” Altman said. “Fortunately, there’s a growing army of grassroots activists ready to roll up their sleeves and take back New Jersey from the Republicans and the Democrats who act like them.”

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