TRENTON – When operatives talk about potential affirmative votes for Gov. Chris Christie’s FY 2011 budget, they start down south with state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Twp.).
Asked if he’s one of Senate President Steve Sweeney’s (D-West Deptford) four Democrats lined up to vote “aye,” he’s coy – but not too coy.
“I’ll say this,” Van Drew told PolitickerNJ.com as he left the Statehouse yesterday, “I want to do anything I can to move the process forward.”
Like everyone else in the legislature, Van Drew’s heading into an election year. Unlike most of his colleagues, he has a tough general election district.
On paper, LD 1 leans registered Republican over Democrat, 38,242 to 31,130 voters. Another 55,349 unaffiliateds tilt toward the GOP. Christie defeated Democrat Jon Corzine down here in two of the three counties or portions of counties that fit together to make the 1st: Atlantic and Van Drew’s own home Cape May.
Last year, Van Drew voted against Corzine’s budget. That irked some nothern Democrats in the lead up as they sought deals, all the while knowing Van Drew in a Republican-leaning district, wouldn’t budge.
This year, with Christie in charge, his vote may be diffferent.
Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, Van Drew held hearings in April as part of an effort to restore Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) funding that Christie chopped out of the state budget.
Last night, according to published reports, the governor restored $48 million worth of UEZ funds.