A few Democratic Party members in Central Jersey – unnamed, but no less adamant apparently in backroom conversation – like the idea of former U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7) riding in like Don Quixote to save the party.
U.S. Rep. Tom Kean (R-7) defeated Malinowski in 2022.
Now, Malinowski’s allies see him as viable in a statewide context as U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) digs in amid howls for him to leave.
The Malinowski sources are trying to spin the fact that he doesn’t occupy a congressional seat right now as an advantage.
New Jersey wouldn’t have to sweat the potential for a congressional seat loss, as it might by submitting U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill, or Andy Kim to the senate altar.
Each would abandon a reelection run in order to take a senate shot. That is unless he or she installs a spouse in the seat to keep it warm in case of a crawl-back, as U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews did years ago after unsuccessfully challenging the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg.
In this case – Keep all the seats, plus empower an unfettered Malinowski.
Notwithstanding cries of redistricting unfairness from Malinowski’s backers, their argument seems to somehow lack basic political coherence, which presumes (maybe not in Jersey, granted) success before advancement, not failure.
Such a paradigm doesn’t seem to hamper anyone else on the murky landscape here, the case makers for the former congressman seem to imply.
How deep are the conversations?
Kim actually getting out in front with a proper announcement – just pulling the trigger on a run – may have short-circuited a Malinowski comeback, though, or maybe the argument in and of itself – aided internally perhaps by Kean hypocritically trying to serve – simply doesn’t resound with any real force.
Bottom line: a former congressman doesn’t jump to the front of the pack, say those pushing back on Malinowski’s name arising within the parlor room of New Jersey politics.