Blue Dog Coalition boots Van Drew

Members of the Blue Dog Coalition voted on Tuesday to remove freshman Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.) from the centrist Democrat group, following news he plans to switch parties in coming days. 

Reports that Van Drew, a vocal opponent of impeachment, was leaving the Democratic Party broke over the weekend, sparking blowback from members of the caucus. 

“Today, the members of the Blue Dog Coalition voted to rescind Rep. Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewGinsburg expresses hope amid a Senate she thinks is 'divided sharply' Democrats slam GOP on drug prices in bilingual digital ads Democratic NJ mayor said he was told he was not welcome at Trump rally MORE’s (D-N.J.) membership to the Coalition indefinitely,” a senior aide to the Blue Dog Coalition said.

Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyGOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Sanders under fire from Democrats over praise for Castro regime The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats reckon with Sanders's rise MORE (D-Fla.), co-chairwoman for administration of the Blue Dog Coalition, noted that members of the group are required to be Democrats.

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“Per our bylaws, which require all members to be a member of the Democratic Party, Congressman Van Drew is no longer a member of the Blue Dog Coalition,” she said in a statement. 

Van Drew declined to confirm his plans to switch parties to reporters on Tuesday. 

The New Jersey congressman won his race in 2018 to replace former Rep. Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondo Democratic challenger on Van Drew's party switch: 'He betrayed our community' Trump announces Van Drew will become a Republican in Oval Office meeting Van Drew, set to switch parties, will vote as a Democrat on impeachment MORE (R-N.J.), who retired after serving 12 terms representing the swing district. 

The news of the alleged switch has already sparked a Democratic challenger, political science professor Brigid Harrison, to come forward with plans to run for the seat. More challengers are expected to crop up. Five of his staffers also announced their resignations following the news.