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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy slams Van Drew defection

Governor says congressman playing politics

By Nikita Biryukov, December 14 2019 7:38 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy slammed Rep. Jeff Van Drew for his impending defection to the Republican Party.

“Jeff Van Drew has chosen his political career over our Constitution,” Murphy said. “Despite knowing full well that the President has abused the powers of his office, he’s now willing to enable Donald Trump just to try to salvage his own election.”

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.

Over preceding weeks, support for Van Drew among local Democrats has ebbed away, the retreat fueled by his opposition to impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

“Congressman Van Drew has long voted against core Democratic values. Betraying our party by siding with Donald Trump is the final straw, as grassroots activists, local party leaders in his district, and I have made clear in recent weeks,” Murphy said.

The governor endorsed Van Drew in July — at the time, he said he was backing all Democratic House incumbents — but he did not stand by that endorsement when asked about it last week.

“This party switch is cynical and desperate, and I am confident that a Democrat who shares the values and priorities of our Democratic Party will hold this seat,” Murphy said.

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