A Second Act for Former Congressman Malinowski

Hunterdon County is not normally a hotbed of Democratic political activity. But maybe the norm is changing.

The party had a raucous convention a few months ago in which it endorsed Andy Kim over Tammy Murphy for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination.

That helped Kim build the momentum that ultimately pushed the First Lady out of the race, but it almost didn’t happen.

Just before the convention endorsed Kim, party leaders suggested that the convention simply endorse both Kim and Murphy.

Bedlam ensued and there was yelling in the audience. That suggestion was voted down and Kim carried the day.

After that experience, it probably was no surprise when party chair Arlene Quinones Perez didn’t seek another term.

Now there’s a new chair and it’s former congressman Tom Malinowski.

Party chairs in New Jersey can be influential figures, but they generally are not ex-congressman. Normally, they tend to be largely unknown – not to party insiders – but to the general public.

Malinowski is different.

He “flipped” what had been the Republican 7th District in 2018 and held it in 2020. But after redistricting made the district more Republican than it had been, Malinowski lost his seat in 2022 to Tom Kean Jr.

There is always irony in politics and here’s one for you.

The redistricting plan crafted by Democratic insiders essentially cost Malinowski his seat. He likely would have prevailed under the old map.

Now, by virtue of his position, he has become one of those insiders – at least officially.

After winning the chairmanship last Sunday, Malinowski posted the following:

” I was honored to be elected Hunterdon County Democratic chairman with this awesome crew yesterday. Democrats win here by fighting for Hunterdon’s open spaces, clean water & air, and rural character. With hard work and your help, it will be NJ’s next purple – and blue – county!”

Perhaps, he should start thinking about making it “purple.”
The stats say that Hunterdon has about 42,000 registered Republicans to about 30,000 registered Dems.

In the 2022 House race, Malinowski lost to Kean in the county by about 5,000 votes, which was better than the countywide voter margin.

The good news for the party is that Democrats have made inroads of late into suburban New Jersey. That’s shown by Malinowski’s two congressional wins and also the continued success in demographically-similar Morris County by Rep. Mikie Sherrill. Her 11th District includes parts of Essex and Passaic, but she has won Morris in every one of her three elections.

New Chair Malinowski has an immediate challenge. That’s trying to get Sue Altman, the CD-7 candidate challenging Kean, elected.

Prior to arriving in Congress, Malinowski worked for the State Department as an assistant secretary of state concentrating on democracy and human rights.

Like the House, that was quite a worldly position.

County chair is different. Even in a relatively small county, there are many internal, if not petty,  squabbles that demand the chair’s attention. And there are always things like finding Democratic candidates to run in Republican strongholds.

Years ago, there was a former chair in Morris who also served as freeholder. This was before cell phones. She told me that as a freeholder, she would arrive home and find no messages on her answering machine. But when she was chair, she could count on hearing multiple messages upon returning home. Someone was always upset or puzzled about something.

Indeed, the nuts and bolts of county politics can be challenging – and time consuming.

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6 responses to “A Second Act for Former Congressman Malinowski”

  1. “Democrats win here by fighting for Hunterdon’s open spaces, clean water & air, and rural character.”
    I hope that means he will fight overdevelopment in NJ and work to reverse the affordable housing laws the Democrats passed that will lead to massive overdevelopment with little to no affordable housing. The laws are for the benefit of developers, who then “donate” to the politicians; they are NOT to create affordable housing. The overdevelopment is destroying our state: our land, open spaces, water and air; and especially our character.

  2. I am in Warren County and I am overjoyed that Tom Malinowski has taken over his chairman of hundred and County. There was a big cheer when it was announced at our reorganization and when I spoke with someone from Sussex County he also was very positive and excited. We are fortunate to have such an intelligent gentleman leading our area Tom Kean does not even reach out to people never goes on the town meeting. He needs to go.

  3. Malinowski voted with Pelosi and Biden 100% of the time. That means Malinowski was complicit in aiding and abetting Communist-Marxist programs in the U.S. He voted for the “Green New Scam”, voted for open borders to destroy this nation (with terrorists flocking in from Asia and Mideast), voted for more and more spending in the TRILLIONS causing extreme inflation, voted for higher taxes that is killing the middle class (about 150 MILLION people), voted against strengthening our military, voted to continue wars all over the world, etc.

    Malinowski does not think for himself. He falls in lockstep (or, should I say “goose step”) with the fascist Democrat-Communist Party in D.C. and Trenton. Voters need to keep this in mind, and keep Malinowski out of Congress.

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