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Rep. Jeff Van Drew. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sierra Club sticks with Van Drew

Congressman’s party switch hasn’t cost him environmental endorsement

By Nikita Biryukov, February 18 2020 4:26 pm

The New Jersey Sierra Club is sticking by its endorsement of Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) following the congressman’s defection to the Republican party, at least for now.

“That endorsement so far still stands,” said Jeff Tittel, the group’s director. “It’s going to be about his record and his commitment. Right now, his voting record has still been fairly consistently good on the environment.”

Van Drew defected to the Republican party in December after his opposition to impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump narrowed his path to renomination as a Democrat.

His record on the environment has remained largely steady since then, Tittel said, though there have been a few hiccups.

“Right now, on a couple of votes, he has actually voted the right way,” Tittel said. “He’s done a couple of funny things where he voted the right way then he voted to recommit with the Republicans, but so far, on a couple of key issues, he’s been voting.”

The endorsement may create some friction between the Sierra Club and other progressive groups in New Jersey.

Van Drew wasn’t popular among the latter even while he was still a Democrat.

“When we originally endorsed him, we got a lot of upset people,” Tittel said. “I don’t think that’s changed.”

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