Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that he wanted to thank President Trump for helping to shape the new Republican Party, saying he thinks “the president broke everything open.”
“It’s like, they have that saying, ripping the Band-Aid off and seeing what’s underneath,” Van Drew said in his first interview since the Republican incumbent won reelection in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. “[Trump] did that and he showed the seamy side, quite frankly, of politics.”
“He showed how politics could be better, that you really could work and fight for the average person,” he continued.
He added that “the people who vote, the average, everyday working people out there need to be listened to and not forgotten about and certainly not looked down upon and that was happening a great deal.”
Van Drew then pointed to the fact that President Trump outperformed polls for a second straight presidential election.
Van Drew said pollsters were saying “how much Donald Trump was just going to get thrashed” and that he was going to “lose terribly,” but “basically he got half the vote.”
He also noted that, according to the polls, “we were going to lose much more of the House,” but “that didn’t happen at all.”
He added that, according to pollsters, he was projected to lose “because somebody who changes their party never wins,” and said “that didn’t happen,” noting that “we’re winning by a great majority.”
In a tight race against Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy, Van Drew defeated his opponent by almost 15,400 votes. Van Drew pointed out on “Fox & Friends” that the votes were still being counted.
According to the Fox News Decision Desk, Van Drew clinched 159,376 votes to Kennedy’s 144,005 — or 51% to 46% respectively.
Eighty percent of the votes have been reported. The vote totals do not include provisional ballots, but Van Drew was enough in the lead that the Associated Press called the race for him, as well.
Van Drew said the polls “were wrong about everything,” adding that “the people knew.”
“The people knew they want to see some change,” he said.
“This new Republican Party is about really having that relationship with the average, everyday person, with real people, making sure that we have government that works for them, that we don’t just keep increasing taxes, that we don’t just keep pushing more and more programs that don’t really, in the end, help anybody but bureaucrats.”
“We can do so much better,” he added.
Van Drew also said on Monday that he thinks America needs a new election system.
“I feel like I’ve gone back to the 1900s,” he told host Ainsley Earhardt. “We’re able to decode DNA, we’re going to put people on Mars and on the moon, but we can’t have an election system that works accurately quickly and electronically? That’s nonsense.”
He added that he plans to go to Washington, D.C., and work on legislation that would address the issue.
Fox News’ Lucas Manfredi and Julia Musto contributed to this report.