Malinowski supporters flood the area, fearing he will be ‘sacrificed’ in the redistribution
Yet his slim 2020 re-election victory over Republican State Senator Tom Kean Jr., the Democratic nervousness of the current political environment, Kean’s ties to Republicans on the Redistribution panel, and a scandal involving his own Stock transactions make Malinowski, who is looking for a third term, an obvious candidate to get thrown under the bus.
Malinowski, who represents the 7th District of central New Jersey, will likely face a rematch next year against Kean, the descendant of a century-old political dynasty he defeated in 2020 by just over one percentage point – the closest re-election margin of any Democratic house. member in the country.
“Making our neighborhood safe for the offspring of any political dynasty would be unacceptable to the citizens of NJ7,” Malinowski supporter Miriam Kohler, district resident, told a press conference. Virtual Constituency Commission meeting on November 20. “Please don’t sacrifice us.”
No other member of the New Jersey congressional delegation had the same kind of fan participation in redistribution meetings as Malinowski. This annoyed some of the Democratic commissioners, according to two sources with knowledge of the process who believe Malinowski is coordinating it.
The Malinowski camp denies it.
The New Jersey congressional boundaries are drawn every 10 years by a 13-member commission made up of six Democrats, six Republicans and a tiebreaker appointed by the state Supreme Court: this year, the tiebreaker he equality is former State Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, Jr., a registered Democrat. The commission has until the second week of January to come up with a map of 12 roughly equal districts to reflect the state’s changing population.
Although Republicans won the process in 2011, drawing a map that initially divided the United States House delegation from New Jersey, deep blue, 6-6, then Republican Commissioners did not anticipate a voter backlash against former President Donald Trump.
The delegation shifted slightly in favor of the Democrats after the 2016 election, before the Democrats secured an 11-1 majority after the 2018 midterms. The Democrats now hold an 11-2 majority after the Rep. Jeff Van Drew (RN.J.) has changed parties.
The 7th District, a wealthy and well-educated gang in central Jersey, was considered safe for Republicans until Trump’s midterm in 2018, when Malinowski beat 10 years Outgoing GOP Chairman Leonard Lance, something Malinowski supporters have repeatedly pointed out during their testimony before the committee.
“People should not be penalized for the work we have done to motivate our neighbors,” Malinowski supporter Lacey Rzeszowski told the committee at a press conference. meet in person on November 13. âI implore the commission to do everything possible to maintain the fairness and competitiveness of this district. “
Pro-Malinowski witnesses focused on the same message: keep the neighborhood largely intact while adding a few Democratic-leaning towns in Union County to bolster its need to add thousands of residents. Ten years ago, they argue, the district was drawn in favor of an incumbent Republican candidate, but has since become ultra-competitive and is expected to remain so.
Democrats have won the district in the last two presidential elections – Hillary Clinton by 1 percentage point in 2016 and Joe Biden by 10 points in 2020.
Still, Democrats know Malinowski is possibly their most troubled member midway through 2022.
Realizing Malinowski’s potential vulnerability and amid rumors, Democrats are said to be willing to sacrifice him to support other Democrats in the swing districts, the six Democratic county presidents of the 7th district issued a precautionary statement in May, saying “l he idea that we would be willing to give away from Congressman Malinowski’s seat for 10 years is categorically absurd.
Since then, however, Malinowski’s lot has not improved.
Days after the May press release, Republicans appointed their constituency commissioners – two of whom were appointed by Kean, the outgoing minority leader of the state Senate who will challenge Malinowski again in 2022. The Executive Director from the Republican constituency, Harrison Neely, was an adviser to Kean Campaign 2020 against Malinowski.
At the same time, the stock market scandal escalated, with the Congressional Ethics Office finding that there were “substantial reasons to believe” that Malinowski had violated federal conflict of interest rules or laws, and the news broke under the scrutiny of House Committee on Ethics. This has led Republicans to stoke the prospect of Democratic internal struggles.
“Tom Malinowski’s outraged penchant for profiting from a pandemic makes him an easy target for New Jersey Democrats to sacrifice in the redistribution process,” Republican National Congressional Committee spokesman Camille Gallon said. in a press release.
Then last month, the legislative elections for governors and states of New Jersey turned out to be tighter than expected, with Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly winning re-election and Democratic state legislative majorities shrinking, heralding difficult re-elections. midterm for three other New Jersey Democrats who since GOP seats in 2016: Josh Gottheimer, Andy Kim and Mikie Sherrill. All their neighborhoods voted for Murphy’s Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli.
But it was a tweet from Cook Political Report Editor-in-Chief Dave Wasserman, a redistribution expert from Malinowski District, that sparked the current backlash by Malinowski supporters.
Wasserman drew a map of what the neighborhood might look like, based on what he heard from people involved in the redistribution process. According to this map, the 7th District would include all of Northwestern New Jersey, attracting some of the more conservative areas of the Sherrill and Gottheimer Districts, while Kim would lose the redder area of ââhis district.
“Dems I spoke with now I think they would be lucky to emerge with a 9D-3R split in 2022 (up from 10D-2R now), increasing the chances that they will strike a deal with the GOP commissioners to launch # NJ07 Representative Tom Malinowski (D) under the bus to consolidate # NJ03, # NJ05 and # NJ11, ” Wasserman tweeted.
In a statement, Malinowski spokesman Naree Ketudat dismissed Wasserman’s speculation.
“We trust the process and everyone involved,” he said. “The residents of CD07 have been bombarded with political reports throughout the year speculating that their district is on the chopping block. These public hearings are their opportunity to respond and they are seizing it.”
But a source close to Malinowski who spoke on condition of anonymity said Wasserman’s tweet “had everything ablaze”, although they downplay the level of coordination of the congressman’s office with those who went before the committee. clipping, saying the supporters asked how they could help, “and we explained to them that you can testify.”
POLITICO has contacted some of the Democrats involved in the redistribution process, but all have declined to comment publicly. Privately, however, they expressed their displeasure at what they perceived to be Malinowski inundating the meetings with sympathetic witnesses who often repeated the same points. They also denied that there was any plan to sacrifice the congressman.
The redistribution process is expected to come to a head this month, when the commissioners retreat to a location yet to be determined to draw the boundaries of the district.
Wasserman said in a phone interview that he doubted the final 7th Arrondissement map would look like the one he drew, but it is “the basic architecture of a plan that would essentially sacrifice Malinowski.”
âHistorically, the redistribution commission has been more focused on the protection of individual incumbents than pure partisan calculation,â he said. âThere are other Democratic incumbents who have close allies on the committee. Malinowski was never really a democratic machine. And in that case, he could be penalized for it.