Look at the recent Daily Bits on the website. Apposite Opposite Op Eds, Election results for Notes I wrote.

Political Note #248   Jeff Van Drew NJ CD 02

2020                             General Election

Jeff Van Drew https://vandrewforcongress.com/ was one of two Democrats to vote against the House resolution setting the rules for impeachment. He is a conservative Democrat. He was a conservative Democrat in the New Jersey legislature before he was elected to Congress. He is unusually conservative. So conservative that it is not unusual for him to be a minority of one or two among Democrats.

Why support him?

  1. My goal is to defeat Republicans. Republican support for Donald Trump is an expression of how deteriorated and dangerous the Republican Party has become. They are focused on limiting freedom and opportunity for women, for minorities, for the poor, for those whose ideas and/or lifestyles are different from what was once conventional. They don’t do a lot for non-college educated white men either.  Or for the environment.  Or for a foreign policy with integrity. Or for our obligations to grant asylum to those fleeing tyranny.
  2. There may come a day when Democrats have become sufficiently dominant to allow a different focus.  That dominance has only recently been achieved in New York let alone the country as a whole. Until then, defeat Republicans.
  3. Jeff Van Drew flipped a Republican seat in 2018, winning by 20,000 votes. That may seem substantial, but it is not. It was a 7 point victory. It also serves as a reminder of how close 2018 was. Only fourteen of the Democrats who flipped seats won by a greater margin. Few had a Republican opponent easier to beat.

The best example of an easy to beat Republican in 2018 was in IL 03. The Republicans candidate was a Nazi.  IL 03 is the kind of place where supporting a primary opponent against a deeply conservative Democratic incumbent can make some sense.

Jeff Van Drew’s opponent in 2018, Seth Grossman, is not a Nazi. He is a racist. He won the Republican primary with a plurality. He was so racist he eventually lost the support of the Republican leadership. A New Jersey Star Ledger editorial discussed Grossman’s views:

“Seth Grossman is running for Congress in South Jersey, because he knows what Congress should look like. It should look like Seth Grossman.

‘The whole idea of diversity is a bunch of crap and un-American,’ the Tea Partier-turned-Trumpster declared to a table of fellow white men in suits, at a Republican debate in April.

This was after an Indian-American candidate argued that he would bring diversity to the GOP ticket. Grossman’s spiel was caught on video, winning him the superlative, ‘Most likely Republican to lose to a Democrat, in a district flipping from one to the other.’ …. Grossman says, ‘Of course I love diversity,’ ticking off his favorite ethnic restaurants. … Just not other kinds of diversity. As he reaffirmed in a follow up interview on WHYY Radio: ‘Most of the African-Americans I speak to about this say that diversity and affirmative action is another word for ‘excuse.’ Excuse for failure, excuse for not getting training, excuse for no discipline, and that is what is killing the African-American community, the idea that you can succeed without work, without achievement, just because you can say, ‘Well, my great-great-granddaddy was treated unfairly.’ I do not believe in that at all.’ ”

Jeff Van Drew’s victory in South Jersey by 20,000 votes was a testament to how unacceptable Seth Grossman was. Even in South Jersey. To say that South Jersey votes like South Carolina would malign South Carolina which has a Republican African-American US Senator and could elect a Democratic African-American to its other US Senate seat in 2020.

South Jersey doesn’t really vote like South Carolina. Trump won South Carolina by 15 points. Trump won NJ 02 by five. Consider the district where the other Democratic vote against proceeding with impeachment came from. Trump carried Collin Peterson’s MN 07 by 30.

Jeff Van Drew did not win himself a safe seat in Congress. It is safer than MN 07. Jeff Van Drew has better prospects for reelection than the African-American Democratic Senate candidate in South Carolina has. Jeff Van Drew’s votes reflect what he believes in. His conservative positions and his opposition to proceeding with impeachment are not strategic votes even though a less conservative Democrat would have trouble getting elected in NJ 02.

Why is Jeff Van Drew a Democrat? What kind of Democrat is he? He’s a dentist. He practiced in South Jersey for thirty years. Because he is a dentist, the organizations that promote the election of scientists include him as someone to support. He is no climate change skeptic. He puts his opposition to offshore drilling in the context of the danger from climate change. and obtained the endorsement of the Sierra Club.

He supports education. His central campaign issue in his very first election was support for the local community college. He has been an advocate of education for children with disabilities. He has been an advocate of medical care. He supported CHIP and  the Affordable Care Act.   His opposed offshore drilling for oil and introduced a bill to prohibit underwater air gun testing used to search for oil in the ocean. He supports net neutrality. He opposed telemarketers and predatory lenders. He supports women’s right to choose whether or not to have a child.

He has been ambivalent about some issues. He supported, then withdrew his support of a New Jersey constitutional amendment to require parental approval for abortions for minors. He supported, then withdrew support for restoring the death penalty in New Jersey. Despite high ratings from the NRA, he has found a way to work with gun safety advocates and was named a “Gun Sense Candidate” buy Moms Demand Action.

We would wish, I would wish he had some different views.  He voted against New Jersey approving same-sex marriage. He supported a pipeline through New Jersey. He opposed an increase in New Jersey’s paltry minimum wage.

Jeff Van Drew is a Democrat, just a more conservative Democrat than most and an advocate for bipartisan governance. He is also a ferocious organizer on behalf of Democrats. In New Jersey, he not only got himself elected in a traditionally Republican Senate seat, he succeeded in getting two Democrats elected in the coterminous House seats – forming a solid block of Democrats in Republican territory.

I’ll take that. I hope you will, too. Surprise him. Provide Jeff Van Drew https://vandrewforcongress.com/ with some outside, grassroots support. Give him some money.

Northeast battlegrounds.  Contests to support. We know who the Democratic candidate will be. And incumbents won by less than 30,000 votes.



Senate:         Sarah Gideon to defeat Susan Collins

ME 02           Jared Golden to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

New Jersey

NJ 02             Jeff Van Drew to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

NJ 03             Andy Kim to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

NJ 07             Tom Malinowski to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

New York

NY 02             Councilwoman Jackie Gordon to defeat Peter King

NY 11             Max Rose to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

NY 19             Antonio Delgado to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

NY 21             County legislator Tedra Cobb to defeat Elise Stefanik

NY 22             Anthony Brindisi to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

NY 23             Cybersecurity expert Tracy Mitrano to defeat Tom Reed

NY 27             Ex Town Supervisor Nate McMurray to win an open R seat


PA 08               Matt Cartwright to keep the seat he flipped in 2018

PA 17                Conor Lamb to keep the seat he flipped in a special in 2018