In this Jan. 14, 2016, file photo, then state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May Court House, speaks at a Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting in Trenton, N.J. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., a Democratic House freshman, broke ranks Thursday to oppose the resolution that sets ground rules for an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
On Sunday, Politico reported that five staffers from Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s office had resigned after he made the decision to switch parties.
Five staff members signed a letter that read, “Sadly, Congressman Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of the Republican party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office.” The full letter can be viewed here.
On Monday morning, CNN announced a sixth staffer had quit on Sunday evening. And later on Monday, the New York Times reported the seventh departure. According to a person familiar with the situation in Mr. Van Drew’s office, his chief of staff, Allison Murphy, is the sole remaining employee in his Washington office. She has been with Van Drew since his days as a state senator and she is expected to stay.
Van Drew was one of only two Democratic Congressmen to vote against the impeachment inquiry and he plans to vote against impeachment in the House vote which is scheduled for Wednesday. Van Drew represents a district that President Trump won by 5%.
It’s been widely reported that Van Drew has been losing Democratic support in his district because of his opposition to impeachment. Pundits say that by switching parties, he will avoid a primary challenge.
According to the Times:
Mr. Van Drew’s decision is certain to become a dominant issue when he runs for re-election next year. A Democratic foe labeled him a traitor. The governor of New Jersey said he lacked the courage to protect the Constitution.
“This is the end of his career,” said David Richter, a Republican businessman who has been campaigning for Mr. Van Drew’s seat in Congress since August and referred to him on Sunday as a “weasel.”
On Monday, Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University who had been taking steps toward challenging Mr. Van Drew as a Democrat in a primary, said that she, too, would run to replace him. “I think he’s a traitor. I think it is something that is emblematic of the cynicism of our country.”
In a separate statement announcing her campaign, she said that Mr. Van Drew had “ignored the voices of our community and has instead sold his soul, cutting back-room deals with the White House.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos, chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has promised jobs to all of the staffers who resigned from Van Drew’s office.
”It’s right before the holidays and these staffers just quit their jobs to stand up for their Democratic values. We’ll bring them and others who leave on with the @dccc until they land new jobs that align with their values.”
It's right before the holidays and these staffers just quit their jobs to stand up for their Democratic values. We'll bring them and others who leave on with the @dccc until they land new jobs that align with their values. (1/2)https://t.co/MqWVsnAGcN
— Cheri Bustos (@CheriBustos) December 16, 2019
I hope his chief of staff sticks with him.