SOMERVILLE – They call it Hoboken West, this American Graffiti car culture borough that doubles as the Somerset County seat, where Democrats have an edge, and where U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski planned to do a meet and greet with CD-7 voters on Tuesday evening with Mayor Dennis Sullivan.
A veteran of local politics, retired teacher Mayor Sullivan told Malinowski that the congressman can count on him and his team to act as Malinowski surrogates in Somerville, as the incumbent Democrat attempts to fend off former state Senator Tom Kean, Jr., who gave up his seat to focus exclusively on Malinowski’s congressional seat.
Sullivan and Malinowski planned to meet with prospective voters at the Village Brewing Company, one of the most popular drinking and partying destinations in Somerville.
The mayor was gung ho about Malinowski, he told InsiderNJ.
He cites three reasons. The first is that the congressman helped secure $2.5 million for the borough’s southside park, which Hurricane Ida ruined last year. Once they get the park in working order, Sullivan told Malinowski the first hotdog’s on him. Sullivan said secondly, Malinowski secured additional FEMA funding and resources toward salvaging and rebuilding Somerville after Ida. Thirdly, he said Malinowski secured small business aid for the borough’s much-heralded downtown business district.
At the heart of New Jersey’s must-watched and arguably most competitive congressional district, Sullivan said he has not felt much of the mean-spiritedness that infects contemporary American politics.
“My experience – and it’s a credit to both parties in Somerville – is that while it occasionally gets a little testy during silly season – we run positive, informative campaigns here,” said Sullivan. “I don’t sense rancor or distrust. If people talk about national issues, I am personally very quick to bring the discussion back to local issues. Somerville voters are intelligent.”
In this cycle, conscious of the larger battleground dimensions, he hopes they vote for Malinowski, who probably won’t need to campaign as much here as he will points west, at least by the reckoning of the mayor, who, again, says he the congressman has strong allies here, including the mayor’s allies, already on the doors, because they occupy the local ballot.
The mayor’s seat is up next year.