Amid impeachment furor, Democrat congressman prepares to abandon party: Report

Republicans have long said that the Democrats’ push for President Donald Trump’s ouster would hurt them come 2020. And it looks like that prediction is already proving true.

According to a Saturday report from Breitbart, Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a moderate Democrat who represents a district in New Jersey that Trump won in 2016, has been telling aides that he will be ending his affiliation with the Democratic Party and joining the GOP ahead of his 2020 re-election campaign.

Reports: The switch is imminent

Van Drew made headlines last month when he became one of only two Democrats in the House to vote against formalizing Dems’ impeachment inquiry, according to Business Insider. Since then, Van Drew’s resolve on the matter has only strengthened.

Van Drew told reporters earlier this month that “unless there’s something…that I haven’t seen, haven’t heard before,” he’d be voting against impeachment yet again when it comes up in the House this week. “That has been my position,” he noted.

Van Drew finds himself in the position of either voting with his party or with the people of his district, who by and large supported Trump in 2016. But his decision to honor the majority of his constituents has made him unpopular with Democrats back home; according to The Washington Post, 58% of Democrat voters in Van Drew’s district no longer have confidence in him.

With these kinds of numbers, Van Drew will likely lose his party’s nomination to run again in 2020 — but it looks like he won’t mind. Citing “several high-level sources with ties to Van Drew who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” the New Jersey Globe reported that “Van Drew’s chief of staff has begun notifying the right-of-center Democrat’s campaign and congressional staffs that the first-term representative will join the Republican [P]arty.”

“The switch has not yet occurred, but appears to be imminent,” the Globe reported.

Van Drew, for his part, is so far denying the claims. “I’m not changing anything — just doing my job. I’m still a Democrat, right here,” he told the Post on Tuesday, according to Fox8 in Cleveland.

The more the merrier

Before she announced that the House would be pursuing Trump’s impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) warned that moderate Democrats would be put in a tough spot if the party moved to impeach without ample evidence against Trump. And now that Dems have pushed forward with formal articles against the president without much evidence to show, Pelosi’s warning has become reality.

According to Breitbart, there are 31 freshmen, moderate Democrats who, like Van Drew, represent districts that Trump took in 2016. They face the same decision that Van Drew faces: vote with Democrats for impeachment or vote with their constituents against it?

The magic number is 17: Pelosi cannot lose more than 17 of these 31 moderate Democrats on impeachment, or the matter won’t ever make its way to the Senate. Van Drew is already one; how many more will follow?

Meanwhile, it seems that if these centrists do side with the GOP on impeachment, they would be more than welcomed by Republicans. In fact, Van Drew has reportedly already met with President Trump, and, if he were to go red, he would be likely to get Trump’s endorsement in 2020, as the Republican who is currently running in Van Drew’s district has been critical of the president and may have ties to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Indeed, Republicans need all the support they can get as they look to win back the House and keep their holds on the Senate and White House in 2020. The more the merrier.

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