President Donald Trump meets with U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew on Dec. 19. Van Drew says Trump told him at that meeting he would come to his district to campaign for Van Drew.

President Donald J. Trump will hold a rally Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the Wildwoods Convention Center, and U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd, will travel with him on Air Force One for the event.

"It is what the president discussed when we were there (in the Oval Office)," Van Drew said Monday evening, as he prepared for an interview on Fox News' Tucker Carlson show. "He said he would come to the district in order to tell people he is supporting me in this race. That's the major reason, but I’m sure he’ll go into a lot of other things if I know him."

In the Dec. 19 Oval Office news conference in which Van Drew announced his party switch from Democrat to Republican, Trump promised to visit South Jersey as part of his endorsement of Van Drew's reelection.

Van Drew said it will be a major event for him personally and for the district.

"Am I excited? Absolutely. I expected him to keep his word, and he did," Van Drew said.

It will be the first time a president has visited New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District for a major public  speech since President George H. W. Bush gave a speech in Vineland in 1992.

Van Drew was one of only two Democrats to vote against both articles of the Trump impeachment in the House of Representatives. He switched parties the next day.

John Lynch, the director of sales and entertainment at the 7,400-person capacity Wildwoods Convention Center, said he received a phone call Jan. 2 from a representative from the president's reelection campaign specifically asking if the Jan. 28 date was available because the president wanted to visit this month.

There was nothing scheduled on that date, Lynch said.

"You have the sitting president of the United States coming to Wildwood," said Lynch, who added this is a notable event for the building and the city.

Security precautions, which for the president will be led by the Secret Service, will be paramount, Lynch said.

The Wildwoods Convention Center, which opened in 2002 and replaced the Wildwoods Civic Center, hosts more than 100 events annually and will have events taking place in the weeks before the president arrives, including a Special Olympics event and a Polar Bear Plunge, Lynch said.

Last week, Van Drew’s reelection campaign hired South Jersey Republican political operative Ron Filan as campaign manager, announced by campaign adviser Bill Stepien. Stepien is also a senior adviser to Trump's reelection campaign.

But the three Republicans who had announced they were running in the Republican primary for the right to run against a Democratic Van Drew have not dropped out of the race, even though Van Drew is now running as a Republican with the president's blessing.

The three GOP primary challengers are Egg Harbor Township’s Brian Fitzherbert, a project manager for a tech company and founder of the Atlantic County Young Republicans; Bob Patterson, a former acting associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration and an advocate for returning manufacturing to the U.S.; and David Richter, who recently moved to Avalon from Princeton after stepping down from leading Hill International, a contracting firm based in Philadelphia.

At least five Democrats are running in the Democratic primary for Van Drew's seat. 

The rally will start at 7 p.m., but Van Drew said doors will open at 3 p.m. and it's best to get there early to get a good seat.

Tickets are available for free through; click on "Events" at the top. There is a two-ticket, per-person limit, and they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Who is running in the 2nd Congressional District race?

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Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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