TRENTON, NJ – There’s a battle this year within the New Jersey Republican Party as party bosses have backed two former life-long Democrats, Rikin Mehta for U.S. Senate and Jeff Van Drew for Congress. Both men have lived most of their adult lives supporting the principles of the Democrat party but recently found personal political success switching parties to run in the blue-leaning state of New Jersey.
Jeff Van Drew, one of the more conservative Democrats in the party flipped affiliations this year after he was one of the only Democrats in Congress to oppose the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. While that put Van Drew in hot water with his fellow Democrats, it drew the affectionate eye of President Trump. Before you know it, Van Drew was given a permanent home in the New Jersey GOP. He is facing staunch conservative Bob Patterson in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District in July’s primary.
Rikin Mehta, another lifelong Democrat walked away from the party after serving many years in President Barack Obama’s administration with the Food and Drug Administration. After his tenure serving Obama, Mehta worked in the deep Democrat-state of Washington, D.C. politics in Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Health Department. Bowser rose to fame this spring for her anti-Trump rhetoric and for supporting the destructive forces within her city during the Black Lives Matter movement.
Eventually, Rikin said he too saw the light and switched to becoming a Republican. Before you know it, the former Democrat has the full backing of the left-leaning Republican establishment of New Jersey as he faces off against another staunch conservative, Hirsh Singh. Hirsh Singh was one of the leaders of the “Recall Governor Murphy” petition that fell short, in part because of lack of support by the state’s Republican establishment.
In July, we’ll see if the Republican tradition in New Jersey of running moderate to liberal Republican candidates can finally prove successful after serious defeats in the polls in 2018 and 2019.