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5 staffers to Democrat lawmaker Jeff Van Drew resign

By Darryl Coote

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Five staff members of Rep. Jeff Van Drew said Sunday they resigned from his office due to the New Jersey lawmaker's decision to switch allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans.

In a joint letter to Van Drew's chief of staff, Allison Murphy, the staffers said they appreciated their time working for New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District but could not stay on staff following Van Drew's decision to join the President Donald Trump-led Republican Party as it "does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined this office."

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"Over the past year, Trump Republicans have sided with special interests over the needs of working people," they said in the letter. "Worse, they continue to aid and abet Trump as he shreds the Constitution and tears the country apart."

The resigning staff members include Javier Gamboa, Edward Kaczmarski, Justin O'Leary, Mackenzie Lucas and Caroline Wood.

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"We greatly respect Congressman Van Drew and are deeply saddened and disappointed by his decision," the said. "As such, we can no longer in good conscience continue our service in the congressman's employ."

Van Drew, who has not publically said he is switching parties, is one of two Democrats to vote against a resolution to formally authorize the impeachment investigation of Trump in October. He said he opposes the inquiry into whether Trump withheld promised aid to Ukraine in exchange for it to investigate his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden because he fears that without bipartisan support it will further divide the country and fail in the senate.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy accused Van Drew of switching parties in an effort to save his job amid falling support among Democratic voters due to his stance on impeachment.

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"Betraying our values by siding with Donald Trump is the final straw and made it impossible for him to continue being supported by our party, as grassroots activists, local party leaders in his district and I have made it clear in recent weeks," Murphy said in a statement to CNN. "This party switch is cynical and desperate and I am confident that a Democrat who shares the values and priorities of our Democratic Party will hold this seat."

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