Former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman isn’t looking to mount another bid for the second congressional district’s House seat.
“At this moment, I don’t see a compelling reason to do so,” he said.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) defected from the Democratic party last month after being warned that his opposition to impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump could cost him his primary.
Since his defection, Van Drew has received endorsements from Trump and a growing number of the district’s Republicans, including Cumberland County Republican Chairman Michael Testa, a state senator and honorary co-chair of Trump’s New Jersey re-election campaign.
While the district’s three other GOP candidates — David Richter, Brian Fitzherbert and Robert Patterson — have remained in the race since Van Drew switched and attacked him for doing so, Grossman said he didn’t share their hang-ups.
“That I want to give Mr. Van Drew the benefit of the doubt,” Grossman said. “If he embraces Republican ideas, and especially our conservative Republican ideas, this is something we want. We want people switching from the Democratic party to become Republicans. I have absolutely nothing against that — making our party bigger and stronger.”
So far, Trump has emerged as Van Drew’s biggest booster.
The president intends to hold a rally promoting Van Drew at the Wildwood Convention Center on Jan. 28.
Grossman, who ran against Van Drew in 2018, said he’d be there.
“I got my online tickets. I look forward to it,” the former congressional candidate said.
Despite his willingness to welcome Van Drew into the party and his unabashed support for Trump, Grossman isn’t yet willing to endorse the president’s chosen candidate.
“I’m not ready to endorse anybody. It’s very, very early,” he said. ‘Obviously, I’m going to be at the rally. I want to see what he has to say. I want to see what Trump has to say. I want to see who the people around him will be. But so far, I’m very encouraged.”
In the years and decades before his defection, Van Drew often found himself opposite his Democratic colleagues, often bending to their right on issues like gun control despite aligning with them on others, like abortion.
To Grossman, the congressman’s past as a right-of-center Democrat indicates he might be a good fit for the GOP.
“During the campaign as we would go around the district debating each other, I got the impression that Jeff Van Drew was uncomfortable with some Democratic positions he had to take at that time, so I hope this will be a smooth transition,” Grossman said.