MENDHAM – Tom Kean Jr. was already there when Tom Malinowski walked by.
Malinowski extended his hand and they shook, but didn’t exactly have a conversation.
The Kean-Malinowski rematch in CD-7 is the highlight of the New Jersey midterm schedule.
And on this overcast Labor Day morning, Kean and Malinowski were both marching in the borough’s annual parade.
As the marchers “shaped up” just off Main Street in this affluent community, the Republicans and Democrats were a respectful 50 yards or so away from each other.
Malinowski has had many public appearances over the last month; Kean has not.
So the Republican’s presence today was noteworthy. He did show up for the July 4 parade in nearby Mendham Township, but left before the marching began.
Today Kean marched with a large group of local supporters.
As did Malinowski, who after his quick handshake with Kean walked down the street to where the Dems were waiting. They cheered when he approached.
Referring to Kean’s early exit two months ago, the incumbent Democrat cracked, “This time they recruited enough people to make him feel comfortable.”
For his part, Kean said the campaign was going “very well.”
Asked if he wanted to engage Malinowski in a little sidewalk debate, Kean said only,
“Nice to see you,” – a standard political line. He then was off to mingling with friends and supporters.
Politicians of all stripes love parades.
Besides the two candidates for Congress, local Morris pols marched as well.
Doug Cabana and Christine Myers were there. Both are running for county commissioner. So was Tom Mastrangelo, the third Republican commission candidate.
But Mastrangelo, who has fallen out of favor with the county’s GOP establishment after winning a bruising primary, was in a car by himself, happily waving to the crowd.
In situations like this, you always wonder how many people truly know, or care, about the politicians strutting by. Many, unfortunately, do not follow things all that closely.
Nonetheless, both Republicans and Democrats had large crowds marching with Kean and Malinowski.
Amalia Duarte, the chair of the Morris County Democrats, made sure people knew that.
“Just for the record, there are about 150 Democrats here,” she said.
There were many Republicans on hand as well.