I guess you can say the transformation of Jeff Van Drew is complete.
He only spoke for a few minutes at tonight’s Republican convention but the long-time – and now – former Democrat left no doubt where he now stands – squarely in the center of Donald Trump’s cheering section.
Van Drew’s brief oratory covered all the touchstones of today’s Republican party. He said Democrats are against the police and “God-given rights.” He said he was uncomfortable that a “San Francisco liberal” was running the House and that Joe Biden would be a “puppet” for the radical left.
All of that is in line with what we’ve heard all week at the GOP convention.
Still, it makes it hard to remember that just two years ago Van Drew was embraced and supported by the same Democrats he scorned tonight. That’s when he won his seat in CD-2, which covers most of southern New Jersey.
Sure, Van Drew was always a “conservative” Democrat. But it’s hard to see how a man moves from being a conservative Democrat to a devoted Trump supporter practically overnight.
That’s not totally true. Van Drew broke with the Dems over impeachment. Soon after switching parties, Van Drew had a featured role in the president’s January rally in Wildwood.
He was again rewarded by Team Trump with a speaking role tonight. That’s not a small thing. Van Drew was the only New Jersey elected official to be so honored.
Of course, his speech tonight was not the final word. Hardly.
The campaign in CD-2 is well underway.
Amy Kennedy, the Democratic candidate, took a swipe at Van Drew in a Facebook post that accused him of turning his back on South Jersey and pledging “his undying support to Donald Trump.”
This is shaping up as a close race; a handful of polls have the contest essentially tied.
Van Drew contended tonight that a lot of Democrats are really Trump supporters. He probably hopes some Democrats are still Van Drew supporters as well.