In case you were wondering what the low road looks like, Linda Weber seems to be giving a guided tour. First came a Facebook ad mocked up to look like Insider NJ called rival Dem candidate Tom Malinowski a “tax cheat.” After calls to take the ad down from both candidates who’ve left this race –
Salmon and Mandelblatt (see comments) – Weber instead doubled down, pivoting from questions about their deceptive ad … to a justification of the tactic.
And now, the latest: TheTruthAboutTom.com, Linda Weber’s microsite attacking Malinowski (above)
Is this an attempt to show the Democratic leaders in Union that she’s tough? Is this what Union County Dems will be impressed by, as they get set to vote the county line Sunday? New Jersey politics is hardscrabble, for sure. But does it have to be bullshit?
Weber, once frontrunner, has had a string of challenges; disappointing fundraising and despite being awarded the line early in two executive party votes (Somerset, Essex), losing every time in open county conventions – losing 2-1 in Hunterdon, and coming in 4th in both Warren and Morris, all contests Malinowski won.
Now, this is all in advance of a vote Sunday of the 13 Dem municipal chairs in Union to award their CD7*
line – the last county to endorse. Weber seems to be hoping for a ‘favorite daughter’ pick; all the candidates but one (Malinowski) live in Union, and she’s lived there longest. Despite the fact all but Weber seem to be sticking to a pledge not to speak harshly of their fellow Democrats in the primary, Weber – like all candidates – has a right to both present themselves, and raise legitimate questions about the history, stands, or statements of their primary rivals.
But that’s not really what Weber’s done. Malinowski’s lived back in the district a comparatively short time, after serving in federal capacity in the Obama administration. An issue that could be of importance to some voters or a weakness Leonard Lance might be able to exploit in the general. But instead of keeping to the issue, or any issue, Weber instead: (1) accuses Malinowski of breaking the law (“tax cheat”) (2) runs an ad hijacking Insider NJ’s credibility to fool you into thinking they’re calling him a tax cheat (3) engages in character assassination. Sunday will tell us if this works for Union’s Democratic leaders.
* Note: a member of my household is running one of the other CD7 races, Goutam Jois