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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 DrewSunday shows preview: Riots roil Washington as calls for Trump's removal grow NJ Republican pushes for Ways and Means seat a year after switching parties Here are the Republicans planning to challenge the Electoral College results MORE’s (D-N.J.) membership to the Coalition indefinitely,” a senior aide to the Blue Dog Coalition said.

Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyLawmakers move to oust extremists from military Democrats seize on GOP donor fallout Lobbying world 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 LoBiondoVan Drew-Kennedy race in NJ goes down to the wire Van Drew wins GOP primary in New Jersey Amy Kennedy wins NJ primary to face GOP's Van Drew 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.