The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is pushing Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s donors to ask for their money back after the freshman congressman became a Republican five weeks ago.
“We’re being very aggressive on that front,” Lucinda Guinn, the DCCC executive director, said on a conference call this afternoon.
Guinn said that the House Democrats’ campaign arm is helping donors recover donations made to Van Drew before his December announcement that he was switching parties.
“We have sent out an e-mail to our folks in New Jersey giving them instructions on how to ask for their money back,” Guinn said. “We are helping donors do anything they can to recover their donations to Jeff Van Drew. Many of our members and donors have already requested their money back as well.”
In an e-mail sent to Democrats earlier today, the DCCC offered a link contributors seeking a return of money sent to Van Drew, and solicited contributions to the NJ-02 Democratic Nominee Fund for use in the general election.
“Van Drew’s decision to leave the Democratic Party is a betrayal of the South Jersey voters who sent him to Congress,” the DCCC e-mail said.
Six Democrats have already entered the race for a shot to take on Van Drew, who spent seventeen years as a right-of-center state legislator before refusing to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Trump is headed to New Jersey on January 28 for a Keep America Great rally in Wildwood that is expected to boost Van Drew’s standing with local Republicans in advance of county conventions in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland.
One of Van Drew’s GOP primary rivals, former Trump administration official Robert Patterson, has already begun using Van Drew’s Democratic donors as a campaign issue.
The DCCC added New Jersey’s 2nd district to a list of target races this week.
According to Guinn, Van Drew flipped to the GOP because he knew he could not win the Democratic nomination.
“Prior to his party switch – the Thursday prior, I would add – he shared polling with the DCCC that showed that he had no path forward in a Democratic primary,” Guinn said.
In the weeks leading up to Van Drew’s party switch, Democratic county chairs refused to sign a letter endorsing him. Other party leaders, including Gov. Phil Murphy and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, declined to endorse him for re-election to a second term.