The political conversion of Jefferson Van Drew appears complete.
Seven months after switching parties following his refusal to vote to impeach President Donald Trump, Republicans in Cape May County had no trouble voting for Van Drew, who spent 28 years as a Democratic officeholder in a solidly Republican county.
Van Drew won 85% of the vote in the GOP primary against a well-financed former Trump administration official.
Van Drew did better in the GOP primary than he did in the Democratic primary when he first ran for Congress in 2018.
He won 61% in Cape May in the Democratic primary two year ago. He carried every municipality, but didn’t dominate the way he did as a first-tome Republican candidate.
Van Drew won each of the 127 voting districts in Cape May in a landslide over Robert Patterson. He took over 80% in 112 districts, and over 70% in the remaining 12. He took 88% in Dennis, where he began his political career as a township committeeman in 1991.
Michael Donohue, the newly-elected Cape May County GOP Chairman, said he didn’t think it was a big leap for Republicans to accept Van Drew.
“He’s managed all these years to get significant cross-over votes,” Donohue said. “He’s very good at connecting across the aisle.”
Donohue said that there’s a “certain excitement to getting a Republican congressman back.”
“Don’t discount the value of having stood up for the president,” Donohue told the New Jersey Globe. “There’s a lot of value in that.”
Van Drew’s 2018 Republican opponent, former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman, said on Twitter that he voted for Van Drew.
Prior to his party switch, Van Drew served as a township committeeman, mayor, freeholder, assemblyman and state senator before becoming a congressman in 2018. He flipped the 2nd district House seat in 2018 when 12-term Republican Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor) declined to seek re-election.
With a Republican base intact – districtwide, he defeated Patterson by 64 percentage points – Van Drew now needs to go back to Democrats and centrist unaffiliated voters if he wants to seal the deal for a second term.
Democrats have nominated Amy Kennedy to challenge him in New Jersey’s 2nd district.
Kenned is the wife of former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) and part of one of America’s most storied political families.
The district has 19,536 more Democrats than Republicans, but Trump carried the 2nd by 14,830 votes, 50%-46% in 2016.