Van Drew on Santorum visit

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis) is not concerned with former Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s visit to Cape May County tonight.

“I don’t think those things matter too much, other than raising a bit of money,” he said.

Santorum, a two-term social conservative who lost his seat amid an anti-Republican wave in 2006, will hold a public appearance with Republican Assembly candidates Mike Donohue and John McCann in Cape May Court House, along with some fundraising events.

Van Drew is not on the ballot this year, but his district’s two assemblymen, Matt Milam (D-Vineland) and Nelson Albano (D-Vineland), are considered the state’s two most vulnerable Democratic legislators come November. As such, Van Drew, who helped his running mates in 2007 with his electoral coattails, is running as if he is up for reelection himself.

Van Drew said he doubts Santorum has a wide appeal to voters in the legislative district, but that even if he did any impact would be limited. He noted that Republicans brought in Rudy Giuliani – who is legitimately popular there — in 2007, but Democrats still swept the district.

Santorum’s statements have made him a favorite target of progressive politicians and liberal bloggers. Earlier this year, he made headlines when, in a speech where he called Muslims “America’s enemy,” he said that the Quran was “written is Islamic.” That kind of rhetoric would probably make his appearance fodder for Democrats elsewhere in the state, but not in this traditionally Republican district at its southernmost tip. Van Drew, however, held back.

“No question [the district] tends to lean moderate-to-conservative, but many folks are not as conservative, I think, in our district as Rick Santorum is,” he said.

Van Drew on Santorum visit