The former Democrat U.S. representative who switched parties over House Democrats’ impeachment of President Donald Trump won reelection in a tight race in New Jersey, according to new projections.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) won another term, outlets including the Associated Press projected on Friday.
Van Drew, 67, is a former state lawmaker who won his first term in 2018.
He was challenged by Democrat Amy Kennedy, 41, a former public school teacher and the wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).
According to the latest results, Van Drew received nearly 160,000 votes, about 15,500 more than Kennedy.
Van Drew declared victory on Tuesday with a lead of around 10,000.
“This has been a long, hard, brutal election,” Van Drew told a crowd of about 200 supporters at the Oar House Restaurant in Sea Isle City. “A lot of money was spent to remove me from my seat.”
Kennedy last issued a statement on Thursday, writing: “There are tens of thousands of ballots still to be counted. Every vote needs to be counted and every voice needs to be heard.”
A request for comment sent to the Kennedy campaign wasn’t immediately returned.
Van Drew made the unusual move of switching parties while in office late last year after expressing displeasure with both the impeachment proceedings against Trump and the Democrat Party’s leftward lurch.
“I believe that this is just a better fit for me. This is who I am. It’s who I always was, but there was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, of blue-dog Democrats, of conservative Democrats. And I think that’s going away,” he said.
Trump in turn endorsed Van Drew’s reelection campaign.
Republicans have done well in House races this year, carving into the Democrats’ majority by flipping a number of seats across the nation. With most races called, the GOP has gained five seats, including one held by ex-Republican Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.).
“President Trump’s monumental help has expanded the House Republican coalition, from Miami to Minnesota to California,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters this week.