Looks like House Democrats have given up trying to oust N.J.’s Jeff Van Drew

Posted Apr 06, 2021

After Rep. Jeff Van Drew switched political parties to become a Republican, House Democrats spent more than $6 million to oust him in one of the nation’s hottest political races last year.

Van Drew won re-election in his South Jersey district, and with surprising ease.

Now it looks like the House Democrats’ political arm will stay away from spending big to target him again.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday released its list of 21 House Republicans it planned to go after in 2022, and Van Drew’s name conspicuously was missing.

The omission came a year after the campaign committee and its aligned super political action committee spent $6.6 million to defeat Van Drew, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, it seemed impossible to watch Philadelphia television and not see an ad going after him.

Van Drew had switched to the GOP after being one of only two House Democrats to vote against the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump. He later was feted by Trump at a Wildwood rally.

Trump wound up carrying the South Jersey district, 51%-48%, according to Daily Kos. Van Drew did even better, defeating Amy Kennedy of the iconic Democratic family, 52%-46%, according to the Associated Press. Kennedy had outspent Van Drew, $5 million to $4.1 million, Federal Election Commission filings show.

“The last thing Democrats should be worried about is playing offense, particularly against Congressman Van Drew, who was easily re-elected by his constituents after Democrats wasted more than $12 million in a quixotic attempt to oust him,” said New Jersey Republican Party Executive Director Tom Szymanski. He said they’ll need to protect seats because of President Joe Biden’s proposal to raise corporate taxes to fund his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and the surge of immigration on the U.S. southern border.

But even if national Democrats won’t get involved, the New Jersey State Democratic Committee will, spokesman Philip Swibinski said, citing Van Drew’s opposition to Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus law and his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election based on disproven charges of voter fraud, including after a violent mob of pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol.

“The state party has already begun an organizing effort to rally opposition to Van Drew right now rather than waiting for candidates to emerge and we will continue working to make sure a Democrat defeats him in 2022,” Swibinski said.

The two Democrats now vying to face Van Drew both have backgrounds in law enforcement. Tim Alexander of Leeds Point is a civil rights lawyer and former detective and Hector Tavarez is a retired Egg Harbor Township police captain.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-04-07 02:37:22 -0700