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America's Last DINO - Democrat-in-Name-Only

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

State Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) is running for the seat being vacated by Republican Frank LoBiondo in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District (CD). However, local Democrats must be asking the question; “why is this Trumpian Conservative running in the Democratic primary”? You see, Van Drew is a rare – until recently thought extinct – political animal. He’s a DINO – i.e., a Democrat-in-Name-Only.

The blog site Blue Jersey, the ‘voice of progressive New Jersey’, says that Senator Van Drew’s “voting record is even farther right than the outgoing Republican.” Van Drew’s list of conservative positions put him to the right of many in the GOP. In fact, in a refreshing twist Senator Van Drew is a Trump Democrat – he voted ‘Nay’ on a Democratic initiative to require presidential candidates to disclose tax returns. A bill that would make President Trump show his tax returns – an obvious attack on the president – and Van Drew said ‘No’. According to Politico, the senator “has held onto his seat in a Republican-leaning South Jersey legislative district partly by voting like a member of the GOP.”

Van Drew is running for Congress in the Trump-friendly 2nd CD by ignoring his party’s progressive base. Politico reports that Van Drew has voted ‘Nay’ on numerous gun control measures while sponsoring legislation allowing New Jersey residents to carry concealed handguns. Van Drew voted against gay marriage, and he sponsored a proposed constitutional amendment that would require parental notification for abortions.

Blue Jersey writes that Van Drew received Clean Water Action’s lowest grade of any NJ Senator, but was blessed with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. If Van Drew was running in the GOP primary, the mainstream media would label him a candidate unsuited for New Jersey’s moderate politics. It’s absolutely fair to say that the most conservative candidate for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District is Democrat Jeff Van Drew. He’s undeniably more conservative than retiring Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo.

The uncomfortable reality that a DINO is running in New Jersey’s 2nd CD hasn’t been lost (or ignored) by NJ progressives. Many local Democrats are concerned that party bosses – particularly the mega power-broker George Norcross – have ‘anointed’ Van Drew their candidate. Former state party chairman and Democratic Assemblyman, Tom Giblin of Essex County, has said, “You can’t cut George out. He delivers votes and he delivers financial resources. You can’t take chances like that for George to literally go south on you in the general election”.

Blue Jersey has declared that progressives should not allow “a wealthy powerbroker to decide who we have to vote for”. For many Jersey Democrats, Van Drew doesn’t reflect their values. Blue Jersey continues, “Jeff Van Drew, who George Norcross has ‘anointed’ is not the ‘Democrat’ we need to be our voice in Congress! George Norcross does not hold any elected position in the Democratic Party … we need a TRUE Democrat on the ballot in November, not a Democrat in name only.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Democrats are willing to accept conservatives in their ranks. Regardless, Van Drew looks like the real deal – a Trump conservative. Although, he may be running in the wrong primary.

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