Dem Announces Bid For Congressman’s Seat Who Flipped To GOP


When the House voted to formally impeach President Donald Trump recently, a high-profile sideshow story was the party switch of New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew, who’d been a Democrat but decided to vote against impeachment and then switch over to the Republican Party. Now, Democrat Amy Kennedy has announced a campaign to win back Van Drew’s seat for the Democratic Party. She’s the wife of a former Rhode Island Congressman, and although she did not directly address Van Drew’s party switch in her announcement video, she did directly denounce Van Drew and Trump in the same sentence and featured footage of an Oval Office meeting between the two of them.

Citing her record as a public school teacher, she insisted:

‘Too many of our leaders have lost their moral compass. Trump and Van Drew are symptoms of a bigger sickness infecting our country and our politics. Doing what’s right shouldn’t be complicated. Treat one another with respect, show some compassion, and look out for others. But that’s not what’s happening today.’

It’s true, really — on a basic level, just look at the president’s Twitter feed. He consistently demonizes his opponents in absolutely outlandish terms, suggesting that they’re mentally and/or physically unfit for their positions. That doesn’t even cover his lie-riddled, incessant belittling of groups like immigrants, Muslims, and more.

In her video, Kennedy touched on a number of other examples of this glaring lack of attention to basic issues. As she put it:

‘People in south Jersey can’t find good jobs, but the richest corporations pay almost no taxes. Our coastline is under attack from energy corporations and climate change, while environmental regulations are gutted. And we continue to ignore the biggest public health issue of our time: the mental health and addiction crisis that affects virtually every family. I can’t sit back and wait for things to change.’


For a couple of those issues — including the dismal economic circumstances and the environmental danger — Kennedy featured a headline directly implicating the Trump administration, and, by extension, its supporters like Van Drew in the looming crises. The president’s widely touted 2017 tax reform plan dramatically slashed tax rates for high earners while lower income Americans continued to struggle along, and Trump has consistently sought to eliminate roadblocks to industry to the point of the 2019 headline that Kennedy featured saying that oil drilling rigs may go off the New Jersey coast. In the last case, Trump has made a show of caring about the opioid crisis, but his actual suggestions have been draconian pushes for dictatorial steps like executions of drug dealers.

Kennedy already has one challenger — political science professor Brigid Harrison, who announced her own campaign for the seat weeks ago. It’s unclear at this point which one of their campaigns might be in the better position.

As for the general election, the Cook Political Report calls Van Drew’s seat a “likely Republican” hold, which is the last rating before complete toss-up status. A total of five currently Republican-held House seats are rated as toss-ups.