UPDATE 5:48pm: A few minutes ago at a Somerset Dems St. Patrick’s party, Chair Peg Schaffer announced the Union vote to her crowd, and talked about the possibility that Weber will drop out of the race, telling the audience that Somerset Dems’ executive committee – the same people who endorsed Weber in January – would be “meeting soon.”
Well, it’s been a wild ride in New Jersey’s DCCC-targeted 7th congressional district the last few days, with once-frontrunner Linda Weber making news publicly calling Democratic primary rival Tom Malinowski a “tax cheat.”
And now, this afternoon, the 13 municipal chairs in Union County whose towns are in CD7 met to award ‘the line’ to their pick. And they picked Malinowski, in a 7-6 vote over Weber.
Union was the last of 6 counties to endorse ahead of the June 5 primary. The party score so far: Essex gave Weber the line on the say-so of Chair LeRoy Jones. Somerset did it with an executive-level vote after temperature-taking in the towns. But then Weber hit a snag; disappointing Q4 fundraising, and poor performances in every endorsement vote where the county committee members had the chance to hear-out the candidates and vote their conscience. In Hunterdon, Weber lost 2-1 and in both Warren and Morris she came in 4th.
But here was Weber’s ace-in-the-hole. Every Dem running for the shot to go up against Leonard Lance* is from Union – except Malinowski. But Weber’s lived there longest, an attractive feature if the Union County party leaders were to make a provincial, Union-centric vote. Her splashy attack on Malinowski – a microsite essentially calling him a felon and a Facebook ad she was forced to take down for misusing the name of the Insider NJ site – was essentially an attack on Malinowski’s residency in the district – D.C.? Rocky Hill? the attack and Weber’s snide tweet seemed designed to get you wondering – the opposite of her dozen years in one place. And she didn’t back down off of it, even after a hail of criticism from Democrats, even from astute observer pollster Patrick Murray, and the loss of endorsement.
Was it a gamble just designed to get Union County party leaders’ attention?
* Note: A member of my household is running one of the other CD7 Dem campaigns, Goutam Jois.