State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean’s campaign is pushing Republican towns in the state’s seventh congressional district to pass government resolutions and issue press releases bashing Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) and the state’s two Democratic U.S. Senators over their ineligibility for aid under a $2 trillion bailout Congress passed in March.
In an email sent last week and obtained by the New Jersey Globe, a Kean campaign staffer provided local Republican officials with a boilerplate press release and resolution bashing Malinowski and U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, for not securing direct aid to towns in the district.
“We would like to help give you the tools to express your displeasure with Congressman Malinowski and his failure to secure the necessary resources for your constituents,” the email said.
GOP office holders in at least two NJ-7 towns — Garwood and Bridgewater — appear to have acquiesced to the Kean campaign’s request.
Bridgewater’s council passed a resolution that closely mirrors a draft resolution provided by the Kean campaign, and Garwood Republicans put out a press release that word-for-word matches a draft statement provided by the same.
Steven Spurr, chairman of the Summit Republican Municipal Committee, penned a letter to the editor of TAPinto Summit that closely reflects the line put out by the Kean camp, though that letter did not directly any of the campaign’s materials.
“While Tom Kean is trying to get local governments to copy and paste partisan press releases, Congressman Malinowski has been working across the aisle to secure the funding small towns across New Jersey desperately need,” Malinowski campaign manager Dan Fleiss said. “If Kean actually wanted to do something for the people of New Jersey, he’d be addressing his complaints to the man who’s blocking money for us while raising money for him — Mitch McConnell.”
Democratic lawmakers in the House are attempting to push through a bill that would provide $250 billion in funding for local governments representing towns with populations of less than 500,000, though measure, which Malinowski is an original co-sponsor, hasn’t moved since it was first introduced on April 7.
Counties and municipalities with a population of less than 500,000 were ineligible to receive funds made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
That means that every municipality in the district and four of the six counties in NJ-7 did not qualify for direct federal aid.
In April, Malinowski and 10 other members of the state’s House delegation called on Gov. Phil Murphy to provide New Jersey’s less populous counties with some of the $1.8 billion it received under the CARES Act, though Republicans saw that as a purely symbolic gesture.
“Tom Malinowski is paralyzed by partisanship and his district is suffering the consequences. He voted for a bill that brought $0 in municipal aid to his district because Nancy Pelosi told him to,” Kean campaign manager Theresa Winegar said. “Real leadership yields results. Politicized press conferences and sensationalized rhetoric on MSNBC yields shortchanged constituents.”
Still, more than 50 mayors and freeholders from both parties signed a letter urging congressional leaders to consider Malinowski’s bill seeking emergency relief for local governments.
It’s not clear whether voters will notice — or care — that the majority leader’s campaign is pushing Republican towns to attack Malinowski, but it’s possible that the move backfires.
“Here’s a word of advice to Tom Kean: There’s a risk when voters think you’re politicizing a national emergency that has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans,” said Michael Soliman, a Democratic strategist. “Voters are smart enough to see through stunts like this, and they often backfire.”