Van Drew Loses Six Congressional Staffers Over Reported Party Flip
At least half a dozen members of Rep. Jeff Van Drew's staff, including his spokesperson, have submitted their resignations amid reports of a likely change of political party affiliation by the first term Congressman.
Politico and other media outlets reported Saturday that Van Drew was expected to switch parties and become a Republican, following a meeting with President Donald Trump on Friday.
Van Drew's office has not commented on the issue, but five staffers submitted a joint resignation letter addressed to his Chief of Staff, Allison Murphy, saying they are “deeply saddened and disappointed” by Van Drew’s decision, according to a copy of the letter as reported by 6 ABC Action News.
The same letter, signed by Jarvier Gamboa, Edward Kaczmarski, Justin M. O'Leary, MacKenzie Lucas and Caroline Wood, also said the congressman'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."
Van Drew, representing the 2nd Congressional District, has been the only Democrat among New Jersey's delegation to not support the impeachment process against President Donald Trump.
A sixth Van Drew staffer, Cece Doherty, also has stepped down, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which quoted Doherty as saying "“Defeating Trump has and always will be the main goal for me; It’s the reason I got involved in politics. I could not, in good conscience, continue working in an office where mutual morals and values were no longer present.”
On Twitter, the aides were offered temporary work in Washington by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairwoman, Cheri Bustos, who tweeted "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."
Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Saturday that Van Drew chose "his political career over our Constitution" in his anticipated move to switch parties. Murphy doubled down on that position during an appearance on CNN Sunday.
"This is a guy who is reading some set of tea leaves where he thinks if he going to have to take the position he’s taking, he can’t find his way to re-election. I think it’s ridiculous,” Murphy said.
The governor said he believes the voters in Van Drew's district will be "extremely upset" and is confident a Democrat will win the seat in 2020.
Van Drew, a former state Senator, was elected to Congress in 2018 as a Democrat replacing longtime Republican Frank LoBiondo.
As of Monday morning, NJ's Congressional delegation had just one Republican, longtime Rep. Chris Smith in the 4th Congressional district.