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Rep. Tom Malinowski. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

District 7 Democratic county chairs stick with Malinowski

Party leaders say they won’t draw congressman out of a district, call idea ‘categorically absurd’

By Nikita Biryukov, May 25 2021 1:18 pm

Democratic County chairs in the seventh congressional district backed Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) Tuesday, saying they won’t seek to redraw the district as safely Republican to shore up neighboring House Democrats.

“The idea that we would be willing to give away Congressman Malinowski’s seat for 10 years is categorically absurd,” the district’s six county chairs said in a joint statement, adding later, “To be clear, we are standing with Tom Malinowski and fighting to preserve every Democratic seat in New Jersey.”

Malinowski is facing renewed fire over his failure to disclose up to $3.2 million in stock transactions in a timely way after an Associated Press report pointed to previously unreported short sales the congressman made.

Shorting is a practice that involves selling borrowed stock in hope of a price drop. The stock is later bought back by the seller, ideally at a lower price.

There’s no indication Malinowski made trades based on information available to him because of his position in Congress. The congressman said the trades were made by his broker without his input. The late disclosures, he said, were the result of an oversight.

But the renewed focus on Malinowski’s stocks has some Democrats concerned about a possible rematch with State Senate Majority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield), who nearly ousted the incumbent last year in a race that took days to call.

One Democratic leader involved in the redistricting process told the New Jersey Globe they would prefer to write off Malinowski’s district to protect Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) and Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), who represent swing districts abutting the seventh.

Democratic County Chairs Peg Schaffer (Somerset), LeRoy Jones (Essex), Chip Robinson (Morris), Nicholas Scutari (Union), Arlene Quiñones Perez (Hunterdon) and Tom Palmieri (Warren) don’t share that view.

“As the Democratic leadership of the 7th Congressional district, we have no intention of relinquishing this seat to any Republican, let alone Tom Kean Jr. who not only holds pharmaceutical company stock but is dependent on their contributions and votes their interests,” they said. “Republican attacks on Congressman Malinowski are an attempt to mislead the public because they can’t win on the issues, or without redistricting.”

On Twitter, Republican strategist Michael DuHaime dismissed the statement as a political stunt.

“I would expect nothing less publicly,” he said.

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