New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew speaks at the final night of the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who joined the Republican Party this year after winning his seat in Congress as a Democrat, said during a GOP convention speech on Thursday that he left the party because of its new “radical, socialist agenda.”

The New Jersey Republican said he was first recruited to run for the Democrats for a town council seat, despite having reservations about the party. When he made his way to Congress in 2018, he said he was uncomfortable with a “San Francisco liberal” running the House and used his first vote to vote against Nancy Pelosi’s speakership.

He said that as made the decision to switch his affiliation, President Trump “made me feel more welcome in the Oval Office than Nancy Pelosi ever made me feel in her caucus.”


Van Drew said he reconsidered his party affiliation with the rise of the so-called “Squad” of liberal House Democratic lawmakers. “The party had moved from liberal to radical,” he said. “This new Democrat Party wasn’t just for higher taxes, now they were for open borders, against our police and against our God-given rights.”

Van Drew made the leap one year into his first term and soon after voting against Trump’s impeachment. He said that Democratic leaders told him if he did not vote for impeachment, his life “would be made difficult” and he would not be able to run for office again. He was one of three Democrats to vote against impeaching the president in the House.

As a result of the switch, President Trump endorsed him in New Jersey’s 2nd district.


“When the Democrats tried to order me around, I was ready, willing and able to say I’ve had enough with their radical, socialist agenda,” Van Drew continued. “Do you really believe Joe Biden is ready, willing – and most of all – able to do the same?”

“Joe Biden is being told what to do by the radicals running my former party. The same radicals trying to install him as their puppet president,” he said.

Van Drew said that “a lot” of Democrats support President Trump and “are disgusted for what their old party – what my old party – has become.”

“Here’s my advice: Be true to who you are now, not who the Democrats used to be,” he concluded.


Van Drew won his Republican primary by a wide margin last month, but the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district as a toss-up for the November election.

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