The National Republican Congressional Committee today put four New Jersey Democrats on their target list on vulnerable incumbents saying that Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) can be beaten in 2022.
Republicans need five more seats to take control of the House after picking up 15 seats in 2020.
“We’re going to build off last cycle’s successful blueprint. That means we’re going to recruit great candidates, again. We’re going to deliver a winning message to voters and we’re going to raise the resources that are necessary to win,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota), the NRCC chairman. “We don’t ever expect to have the excessive resources they have on the other side, but we’ll have enough.”
The success or failure of both parties in the mid-term elections is dependent on congressional redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census.
New Jersey won’t have a map until December at the earliest, and that could easily extend into early 2022.
Emmer declined to say if he wants former President Donald Trump to campaign for House Republicans next year.
“Everybody on deck,” Emmer said. “My job is not to tell members what to do.”
He did say that Trump helped expand the Republican Party during his four years in the White House.
“President Trump and his administration implemented some amazing policies for this country,” Emmer said. “I think Republicans need to continue to celebrate those policies.”
For a while in 2020, GOP leaders said that the road to a Republican majority in the House came through New Jersey, where Democrats flipped four longtime Republican seats in 2018 and another in 2016.
They won one back in 2019 when Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) switched parties. Van Drew was able to win re-election, but attempts to defeat Gottheimer, Kim, Malinowski and Sherrill were unsuccessful.
Republicans came closest to ousting Malinowski in 2020. Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) lost by just one percent in the 7th district.
Kean has not yet announced if he will seek a rematch, but his announcement that he won’t seek re-election to his State Senate seat in 2021 is a strong indication that he plans to challenge Malinowski next year.
Rik Mehta, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration official who ran for U.S. Senate last year against Cory Booker, has already announced that he will take on Malinowski.
Emmer promised to recruit “talented and diverse candidates” and said he would hold House Democrats “accountable for their far left agenda.”
Josh Billings, the NRCC executive director, said that Malinowski “significantly underperformed the top of the ticket due to strong candidate recruitment, strategic investments by Republicans and the incumbent members consistently voting out of step with their districts.”
Biden carried the 7th district by 12 points against Trump last year.
Malinowski was listed as one of three New Jersey Democrats in battleground districts, along with Kim and Gottheimer. The NRCC says that NJ-11, which Sherrill represents, could become better after redistricting.
Kim was re-elected by eight points, Gottheimer by seven points and Sherrill by six points.
No candidates have emerged to oppose them, and Emmer said candidate recruitment decisions rest with GOP voters and not the NRCC.
“Republicans have a clear path back to the majority,” Billings said. “President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats will continue to push a radical, partisan agenda that is too extreme for middle-class families.”