New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, one of the solitary Democrats not supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump, is expected to shift to the Republican Party, according to a senior Democratic aide.
Van Drew has not publicly announced his decision.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Van Drew had convened with Trump on Friday at the White House, where the President had urged him to enter the Republican Party.
While Van Drew’s expected decision to switch his allegiance will likely dovetail with the House vote on impeachment, internal polling from his campaign confirmed he was facing an upward battle in his district. According to interior polling from earlier this month, just 24 percent of probable Democratic voters in his district stated he merited being re-elected to Congress, and 58 percent stated another candidate deserved the Democratic nomination.
But the New Jersey primary won’t occur until next June, and no candidates have authoritatively risen up to challenge him yet. The timing of his announcement, should it come soon, will essentially provide Republicans a opportunity to claim victory about the political climate inundating impeachment. Van Drew and Minnesota Rep. Colin Peterson were the only two Democrats to vote against the House resolution laying out the steps of the impeachment inquiry on October 31. As the inquiry intensified, changing into two articles of impeachment that are positioned to pass the House this coming week, he remained adamantly opposed. He consistently claimed Democrats were establishing a critical precedent for future presidencies by wielding impeachment, particularly because of the strong likelihood of Trump’s acquittal in the Senate.
“He will be exonerated in the Senate, he will talk about that a lot, [and] it will probably help his election. That’s what we’ve accomplished,” he told reporters earlier this month. “At the same time now, impeachment may become more of a regular, ‘Hey we’re getting used to this process, we may do this more often when we don’t like something.’”