Assemblyman Bruce Land, a longtime ally and running mate of Rep. Jeff Van Drew won’t join the congressman in the Republican party, but he may still vote for him.
“Would I vote for him? I might. I would never say never, because I’ve been a Democrat my whole life, but I have voted for Republicans if they were good people,” Land said. “I don’t always vote on party lines, but I’d like to sit down and really talk to him.”
Over the weekend, Van Drew told his campaign and congressional staffs, most of whom have since quit, that he intended to join the Republican party.
That switch is expected to come over the next day or two, ahead of a vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump that could happen as early as Wednesday.
In the weeks leading up to Van Drew’s defection, Democrats in the second began pulling away from the first-term congressman over his opposition to impeachment.
Still, Land said he was blindsided by the congressman’s defection.
“I had no inclination Jeff was even going to do that. I talked to him a week ago,” Land said. “I know he was firm on the impeachment vote, but that kind of caught me out there. Jeff’s a smart guy, and he sees the writing on the wall down in our district, and I like to think that’s one of the reasons we lost this last election, so he’s just planning, I guess, to stay in office whatever way he can.”
Land, Assemblyman Matt Milam and State Sen. Bob Andrzejczak lost their re-election bids in November.
Cumberland County Republican Chairman Michael Testa has already replaced Andrzejczak in the Senate, and the assemblymen will give up their seats next month.
While he said he wasn’t considering it, Land did not rule out running for the district’s House seat next year.
“I wouldn’t rule it totally out. Never say never — I’m an old James Bond fan,” he said. “I never really had any intention to run for the Assembly. I was 65 years old when I first ran, and it all happened so fast. I like what I do, and I’m going to miss it, but I am going to be 70 years old, and my wife’s retiring. I need to take a little break.”