RNC speakers: What to know about Jeff Van Drew

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Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., who switched parties when the House voted to impeach President Trump last year, is set to speak Thursday at the fourth and final night of the Republican National Convention.

Van Drew, 67, was elected as a Democrat to represent New Jersey’s Second Congressional District in 2018 after serving several terms in the New Jersey State Senate.

But just a year into his first term in Congress, he split with Democrats on one of the most divisive issues of the modern era: the impeachment of President Trump.

TRUMP TWEETS SUPPORT FOR REP. JEFF VAN DREW AMID PLANS TO SWITCH TO GOP

He was one of only three Democrats to break with the party on impeaching the president. At the time, he described Trump’s conduct to USA Today as “unsavory” but not impeachable. Soon after the “no” vote, Van Drew joined the president in the Oval Office to pledge his “undying support” and officially switch parties.

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

President Donald Trump meets with Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., who is planning to switch his party affiliation, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump meets with Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., who is planning to switch his party affiliation, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

“Jeff had the guts to defy the left-wing fanatics in his own party, and to stand tall in defense of our constitution, our freedom, and democracy itself,” Trump said at a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey earlier this year. “I’ve gotten to know him really well over the last couple of weeks. He’s a great guy, he’s a brave guy, he shares our values.”

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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.

According to a bio in The Daily Journal, Van Drew attended Rutgers University and then went to dental school at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He operated a dental practice in South Jersey for three decades.



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