After 48 hours of very public missteps, as CD7 Dem Linda Weber launched first a Facebook ad mocked up to look like Insider NJ called rival Tom Malinowski a “tax cheat,” then an attack microsite making dark accusations that Malinowski’s a criminal, Weber has now taken the ad down. And only after Insider NJ made the request because of the way their name was used to legitimize Weber’s claim. Microsite? Still up.
But it’s clear Weber’s decision to raise these questions about her rival’s residency not as a legit issue but as character assassination is splashing back at her. Yesterday, the campaign posted the microsite link on her campaign Facebook. Weber’s post now has 50 comments, every one of them negative, including calls for Weber to drop out of the race, people who say her “disappointing” campaign pushes them to another candidate, who list the grassroots or Dem Party group they represent, who say she’s making it easier for Lance to be re-elected – – and even some who question if she’s actually working for Lance. I mean, is anybody at Linda Weber for Congress reading what people are saying to them?
At least one of Weber’s supporters has rescinded her endorsement. The CD7* candidates who dropped out of the race, who both endorsed Malinowski, called her out on her campaign conduct. And pollster Patrick Murray, one of the savviest observers in the New Jersey political universe calls Weber’s tactics “amateur hour” (below).
All this storm-und-drang from Weber is for the benefit of Sunday’s Union County endorsement meeting. That was supposed to be Wednesday, but we had a snowstorm. It almost looks like Weber planned to hit Malinowski low, call him a criminal in a big, spashy way, plant doubts about him for the 13 Union municipal chairs hours before the vote, and before Malinowski could respond. But it did snow. And the vote was put off 4 days. And I don’t think this is how Team Weber thought this would come out. But we’ll see, when Union County tells the rest of us what does and doesn’t impress them. Patrick Murray’s tweet [his tweet thread is even worse].
Amateur hour. Campaign staff must have briefing books from the 1970s. Carpetbagger attack doesn’t work anymore. We’re too mobile. What’s more, Dem voters will fill in blanks (he was working for Obama, etc.) and question why Weber’s using this line of attack. Looks desperate. https://t.co/T1hBxFus7J
— Patrick Murray (@PollsterPatrick) March 9, 2018
* Note: a member of my household is running one of the other CD7 races, Goutam Jois