Roger Bacon, a self-styled Trump Democrat and 73-year-old perennial candidate from Phillipsburg, will challenge Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the Democratic primary.
Bacon filed with 333 signatures, 133 more than he needs to qualify for the ballot. His slogan: “Putting America and American’s Rights First!”
Malinowski, a three-term incumbent, also faces a primary challenge from Brandon Wienberg, a 26-year-old Neshanic Station resident. Wienberg has filed with the Federal Election Commission but has not yet submitted his nominating petitions. The deadline is 4 PM today.
This is Bacon’s seventh run for public office.
Bacon mounted a challenge to Gov. Phil Murphy in the 2021 Democratic primary, but Raj Parikh, an attorney for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, had him tossed from the ballot after challenging the validity of his petitions.
An Administrative Law Judge invalidated 305 signatures on his nominating petitions and stopped counting when Bacon’s number fell to 985, fifteen short of the required number.
In 2009, Bacon was one of three Democrats who mounted primary challenges to incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine. Corzine won 77% of the vote in that race, followed by former Glen Ridge Mayor Carl Bergmanson (9%), 9/11 conspiracy theorist Jeff Boss (8%), and Bacon (6%).
Corzine’s failure to get the votes of nearly one-in-four Democratic primary voters in a field where no candidate raised money or mounted any real campaign foreshadowed a problem he had within his own party, a factor that heavily contributed to his general election loss to Republican Chris Christie.
Bacon began running for office in 1992 as the Libertarian candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district. Rep. Bill Hughes (D-Ocean City) was re-elected that year by a 56%-41% margin against Assemblyman Frank LoBiondo (R-Vineland). Bacon won 1% of the vote, finishing third in a five-candidate contest.
In 1993, he won 8% of the vote in a two-way State Senate race against incumbent Bill Schluter (R-Pennington). Democrats did not nominate a candidate and Schluter won 92%. As the Libertarian candidate against Rep. Marge Roukema (R-Ridgewood) in 1994, he won 1.5%.
Bacon lost a Republican primary for Congress against Roukema in 1996 – he won 6% — and a Democratic primary in the same district in 2008 for the chance to take on Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage).
In that race, Bacon won 7% against Dennis Shulman, a blind rabbi from Bergen County. Camille Abate, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society won 32% in that race.
Taking on Garrett, who lost his seat to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in 2016, left Bacon with some regrets.
“We need a guy like that today,” he told the New Jersey Globe in 2021.