After Hunterdon, Dems Turn to Civil-War Rended Union to Resolve CD7 Rift

It would be like asking Grant and Lee in the middle of battle to negotiate the peace accord of a third party.

There was some irritability, therefore, among other county organizations in the aftermath of an open convention in Hunterdon that Tom Malinowski won, in the process throwing down a rumble strip in front of what to that point had looked like Linda Weber’s ownership of the organizations in CD7.

Somerset went for Weber.

Essex went for Weber.

Hunterdon was supposed to go for Weber – and didn’t, a source seethed, staring into the rural county and fuming over the results of Chair Arlene Quinones Perez’s Sunday convention; doubly woeful over a politically unhinged Union. The Hunterdon chair, to the delight of Malinowski, who repeatedly praised her decision to keep it open in the lead up to Sunday, allowed all delegates and elected officials to vote.

In Somerset, by contrast, only the party chairs voted. In the words of one participant who advocated for the Somerset approach, “A lot of people are going to badmouth Somerset and say it wasn’t democratic, compared to Hunterdon, but what you’re doing in Somerset is giving every town a chance for an equal voice. Do you want to stack a big town like Hillsborough, which hasn’t done great in terms of electing Democrats locally, to bully its way over the towns? The way Peg [Somerset County Democratic Committee Chair Peg Schaffer] did it is she gave votes to towns that may not have the numbers but which nonetheless have elected Democrats. These towns got a chance to have voice for a change, instead of getting blotted out by Bridgewater and Hillsborough.”

Whether one favors Quinones Perez’s convention or Shaffer’s, CD7 now appears fractured in a way – at least organizationally – that CD5, Cd11 and CD 2 – all battleground district hotspots on the national board for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) – are not. One source hopeful of a quick resolution in CD7 by the Democrats so they could compete for the affections of national level Democrats bewailed Sunday’s results, and submitted to the inevitability of a bloody primary, as none of the contenders so far appears willing to budge from the field.

Another appeared willing to offload Weber if the early frontrunner struggles in Union.

“If she can’t get the line in Union, we may have to go in another direction,” said the source, an early Weber backer, who’s worried about fundraising advantages held by both Mandleblatt and Malinowski.

The trouble for Weber – and everyone else, for that matter – is Union is as fractured as a county can get, embroiled in its own vicious battle for the county chairmanship and in no position to get behind anyone other than the pitched camps of Senator Nick Scutari and Acting Chair Colleen Mahr.


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2 responses to “After Hunterdon, Dems Turn to Civil-War Rended Union to Resolve CD7 Rift”

  1. “…what you’re doing in Somerset is giving every town a chance for an equal voice.”

    Proportional representation is a complicated thing. Giving districts more power than their share of the population (or registered party members) has certain benefits – mostly to those on the receiving end of the extra power. Just ask the MAGA folks. And “one town, one vote” is extreme compared to the biases built into the electoral college. Aside from the obvious irony, it doesn’t seem sensible to do this in a primary process intended to select the candidate with the best chance of winning a general election where every citizen’s vote counts equally.

  2. I was one of the Hunterdon County Democrats at the convention and to see the energy of the 200+ people there (about 166 voting) was tremendous. We are fired up and ready to go!

    All the candidates have done a tremendous job of outreach and worked very hard to meet and talk to everybody. As the saying goes “show me what democracy looks like” – that was what democracy looks like.

    It seems very simple to me : one person one vote, to do anything else hurts our brand – we are the “Democratic” party after all. We need to learn from the mistakes of 2016 – we do best when we are open and transparent and give everybody an equal voice.

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