Scott Salmon today becomes the second candidate to drop out of the crowded CD7 Democratic primary field, and the second to endorseTom Malinowski, pictured above. Lisa Mandelblatt, who at one time was the field’s fundraising leader, dropped out during a highly charged candidate forum in Union County earlier this month, on the stage of the high school where she was once voted Most Likely to Succeed.
This is another in a series of breaks for Malinowski in recent days, most of which seem to come at the expense of former front-runner Linda Weber. On February 4th, in the district’s first open convention, Hunterdon, Malinowski earned the line, and by a large margin, despite Chair Arlene Perez’s public campaigning for Weber. On February 8th, in front of a Union County crowd with many supporters of Weber’s, Mandelblatt withdrew and threw her support to Malinowski. Then last Saturday, Malinowski won the Warren County Democratic Convention on a second ballot, after a runoff with Goutam Jois ** while Weber tied for fourth place with Salmon, who dropped out today.
Weber’s momentum got a boost in the first two county endorsements in this race, but both were decisions cast by party leaders, not open conventions. Essex County (which has only one town in the district, Millburn) gave Weber the line with no process beyond Chair LeRoy Jones having a conversation with Millburn Democratic leaders. Somerset County endorsed Weber after an executive committee vote, for which local chairs were asked to gauge the will of local county committee members through whatever method they chose. Linda Weber’s burn rate, going through cash faster than it’s coming in, and disappointing last-quarter fundraising also contributed to what appears to be her weakened position.
Morris County (11 towns) has a convention scheduled Feb. 27th, though Chair Chip Robinson already endorsed Malinowski. And Union County – the home of most of Lance’s Dem challengers – has postponed a municipal chairs vote multiple times, with the latest vote now scheduled for Sunday. But Union County is complicated right now, and their part of the CD7 primary is all tangled up in it.
** Note: a member of my household is running the Goutam Jois campaign
Scott Salmon statement suspending his CD7 campaign:
I am announcing today that I am suspending my campaign for New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District and endorsing Tom Malinowski for Congress to be the nominee of the Democratic Party.
When I launched my campaign nearly ten months ago, I knew we faced an unlikely journey. Yet, I wanted to remind people that, as former Senator Paul Wellstone said, “Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.” At a time when it is easy to be cynical about politics, it was important to remind people what government is supposed to do and why the struggle is always worth it.
Tom and I agree on every major issue, and I have spent enough time with him to know that he will never abandon his values, even when times are tough. As the former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Tom has embodied Senator Wellstone’s guiding principle throughout his career. Most importantly to me, Tom will prioritize youth engagement and activism, so that the future of our country has a seat at the table now, and I will proudly help him accomplish these goals.
I firmly believe that this campaign has shown that it is possible to have a politics free of cynicism, and that we can have representatives who are compassionate and will work tirelessly on our behalf. But we must demand that our leaders live up to this high standard, and if they are unwilling to do so, we must replace them. The people of the 7th Congressional District deserve nothing less.
To my fiancée, Remy, my family, friends, and supporters, thank you. All that we achieved would be meaningless without you. I also want to thank our county committee and chairpersons in Union, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, Morris, and Essex Counties for a fair, transparent, and open process. I look forward to helping the Democratic Party take back the House, and we will start by voting Rep. Lance out of office and electing Tom. I am not going anywhere, so let’s get back to work.