GOP House candidate Brian Fitzherbert attacked Rep. Jeff Van Drew over the latter’s impending party switch Saturday.
“His own Party has rejected him and now he’s trying to use South Jersey Republicans to cling onto his power. Shame on him. This race has and will continue to be about improving our local economy and creating opportunity for South Jersey ensuring President Trump gets reelected this November,” Fitzherbert said. “There is no place for desperate Jeff Van Drew in South Jersey’s Republican Party.”
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.
While some of the state’s Republicans, including State Sen. Joe Pennacchio, an honorary chairman of President Donald Trump’s New Jersey re-election campaign, have welcomed Van Drew’s defection, the move will likely meet opposition from Republicans in the district to whom Van Drew has been a political opponent for decades.
Van Drew’s defection follows weeks of backlash over the congressman’s opposition to impeachment from Democrats in the second district.
The optics of Van Drew’s defection play well into the White House narrative on impeachment, and it’s likely National Republicans will exert some amount of pressure on the district’s GOP chairs to clear the field for Van Drew in exchange for his support.
Fitzherbert and two others, David Richter and Robert Patterson, are seeking the nod there.
Richter previously told the New Jersey Globe he would remain in the race if Van Drew switched parties.
“How stupid does Desperate Jeff Van Drew think South Jersey Republicans are? Desperate Jeff knew exactly what Washington Democrats were about when he ran for Congress two years ago,” Fitzherbert said. “In his brief time in Washington, he’s voted with Nancy Pelosi over 91% of the time, Adam Schiff 88% and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 84%. How can South Jersey Republicans trust Jeff Van Drew to represent our Party?”