In what is some good news for Tom Malinowski, independent candidate Veronica Fernandez, who was coming after the incumbent Democrat from his left flank, is dropping out of the race.
Fernandez said today that she made the decision over the weekend, primarily because she saw no path to victory. She isn’t happy about it. Fernandez lamented how independent candidates are often ignored by the political establishment and media.
A resident of Washington Township in Morris County, Fernandez ran unsuccessfully for her local township committee three times as a Democrat. That wasn’t easy in a very-Republican town.
Now registered unaffiliated, Fernandez filed to seek the CD-7 House seat as an independent. One of her main issues was health care.
She says the ACA, or if you prefer, Obamacare, is flawed, because most who obtain insurance through ACA health exchanges need subsidies. That costs taxpayers. She says “Medicare for all” would be a better system.
Fernandez said she’s endorsing no congressional candidate, but that she credited Malinowski for being more visible to the public than Republican candidate Thomas H. Kean Jr. Fernandez promised to stay involved in the fight for health care and election reform, including ranked choice voting.
About 10 days ago, it was Fernandez who made herself quite visible at a Malinowski public event in Clinton when she was one of the first to speak.
“You backed out” of a debate, she told the congressman. “I really want you to recommit to that debate.”
The “debate” in question was one proposed by the League of Women Voters that apparently will not be held.
Fernandez said that even if Kean declined the debate, Malinowski should have been willing to debate her one-on-one.
Malinowski said the event – “Congress On Your Corner” – was not the time to discuss election year politics. He also said that debate participation relates to how much support you have. To which Fernandez replied that she was a bonafide candidate.
The CD-7 race looms as the most competitive in New Jersey this year. And if Dems have any chance of holding the House, this is one they have to win.
Independent candidates don’t usually get all that many votes. But you had to figure that any votes Fernandez would have gotten would have come from Malinowski’s column.
After all, Medicare for all is not exactly a Republican position.
So Malinowski certainly had a political reason for not debating Fernandez and giving her even a small platform.
Now, that is no longer a concern. Fernandez’ decision over the weekend gives her time to remove her name from the ballot.