Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), the former elected Democrat who bucked his party last year to join the GOP, has been declared the winner of his New Jersey congressional district, a seat that he helped flip blue when he was first elected back in 2018.
The Associated Press declared Van Drew as the winner, defeating Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy, shortly after 12pm EST. According to DecisionDeskHQ, which has also called the race, Van Drew leads Kennedy by about 5% of the vote.
Van Drew was one of two House Democrats to vote against the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and after switching parties, he promptly faced a slew of Democratic challengers, including from the wife of ex-Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
In an election where Democrats expected to make gains up and down the ballot, Van Drew represents just one of the many toss-up seats the GOP managed to defend.
According to data from The New York Times, no congressional races considered toss-ups have been won by Democrats so far, and four races that the Times believed would lean toward Democrats have flipped red as of Friday evening.
Amidst the party’s lackluster performance in House races, Democrats have started finger-pointing. During a caucus call on Thursday afternoon, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), who represents a lean-Democrat seat that has yet to be called, blasted the “socialism” and “defunding the police” sloganeering-wing of the party.
Back in December, Van Drew explained that part of his motivation for joining the GOP was the Democratic Party’s push toward the Left.
“I’m a capitalist,” said Van Drew. “Socialism, in my opinion, has no place in the United States of America, and I think everyone should know that. I believe that this country can afford people opportunity and give them that opportunity so that they can succeed.”
“I believe [that] the [Green New Deal] is something that we should never, ever, even think about doing,” he said. “I don’t even know how anybody could bring that up. We can have a strong and good environment, and we can have a good economy at the same time, and that’s something that I think Republicanism represents.”
Meanwhile, in the post-election Democratic Party, some Democratic caucus members have started vocally pushing back against the idea that the party should moderate itself going forward, or even present itself in a more professional manner.
“It’s unrealistic and unprofessional to be okay with people dying because air pollution is causing cancer in their communities. It’s unrealistic and unprofessional to look away while Black folks get gunned down in the streets by police,” tweeted Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in response to a quote from a Democratic congressman pushing back against radical messaging.
Sources: The Hill and The Daily Wire; Photo: Getty Images