WILDWOOD — President Donald Trump will hold a rally at the Jersey Shore on Jan. 28, alongside Congressman Jeff Van Drew — the former Democrat who became a Republican last month.

The rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center is being organized by the Trump re-election campaign, with tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis via the campaign website.  The facility on the boardwalk can accommodate up to 10,000, according to its website.

The officially stated reason for the "Keep America Great" rally is to tout 129,400 new jobs created in New Jersey, including 9,600 new manufacturing jobs and 10,200 new construction jobs, according to a statement from the campaign.

"President Trump looks forward to returning to the Garden State to celebrate his message of ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept,'" reads the statement.

But the focus appears to be showing support for Van Drew.

Van Drew, currently serving his first term representing New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District,  switched political parties in December and made it official with a visit to the Oval Office before Christmas.

Van Drew told NJTV in late December that Trump was planning to visit in either January or February.  As news of the rally spread, he told Harry Hurley of Townsquare Media station WPG Talk Radio in Atlantic City (a sister station to New Jersey 101.5) that he would ride with Trump on Air Force 1 to New Jersey to the rally.

Van Drew also told the Vineland Daily Journal Trump would speak at the rally about impeachment and Iran, and reiterate his support for him. He said he'd return to Washington with Trump.

The dentist and former state Senator faces a tough re-election, with candidates already lining up on both sides for the primary. Four Democrats and three Republicans have announced their intentions to run for the seat . Amy Kennedy, a Brigatine resident, former teacher and wife of Patrick Kennedy was the latest, with an announcement on Monday.

Van Drew, who had been one of two Democrats to oppose articles of impeachment against Trump, has been heavily criticized by his former Democratic colleagues in New Jersey for making the switch to the GOP. Senate President Steve Sweeney called it a "betrayal to every voter who supported him in 2018" and vowed to make sure he is defeated in the 2020 election.

Gov. Phil Murphy said there are more issues than impeachment and called his decision as "ridiculous, pathetic."

“I believe that this is just a better fit for me,” Van Drew said of joining the GOP. Trump announced that he is endorsing Van Drew for reelection, calling him “a tremendous asset for the party."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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