Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) had a monster third quarter, raising over $860,000 since July, and now has more than $2.1 million cash-on-hand as he prepares to seek a third term in what could be one of the most competitive House races in the nation next year.
His warchest is now more than triple what his possible opponent, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr., has banked in his first three months as a congressional candidate. Kean brought in about $630,000 for his rematch with Malinowski.
Malinowski has now raised nearly $2.6 million in the first nine months of his second term in Washington, without taking contributions from corporate PACs.
A controversy over Malinowski’s failure to properly report some stock trades does not appear to be affecting his campaign fundraising; indeed, focus by congressional Democrats over his potential vulnerability in the 2022 mid-term elections, might be fueling his fundraising success.
Malinowski raised $7.4 million last year but depleted nearly all of it to defend his seat in a hugely competitive congressional district, where he defeated Kean by the narrowest margin of any Democratic incumbent in the nation in a district that has shifted blue over the last decade.
But he has quickly replenished his warchest, raising $923,020 in the three months of 2021 and $816,320 in the second quarter of this year.
Malinowski’s fundraising numbers are way up – he’s seen a 43% increase over his third quarter numbers from two years ago – but it’s taking some work. He’s spending all week in California with six fundraising events that will take him from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
It’s not clear what Malinowski’s district will look like after maps are redrawn for the 2022 mid-term elections.
The current 7th district, which includes parts of Union, Somerset, Essex, Warren, Morris and all of Hunterdon, was drawn to elect a Republican congressman.
In 2012, the 7th had 29,997 more Republicans than Democrats. Now the district has 11,749 more Democrats than Republicans; it’s actually become about 1,200 voters redder than it was three months ago.
Kean, the son of a popular former governor. announced his candidacy on July 14 with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy by his side.
In 2020, Kean came nearly Malinowski in a race that saw the incumbent’s lead narrow from 28,412 on election night to 5,311, 50.6%-49.4% – a race that was not decided for two weeks.
The same district also gave Joe Biden a 55%-43% win over Donald Trump in the presidential race. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won it by one point, 48%-47%, but in 2012, Mitt Romney carried it, 53%-47%.
In his 2018 campaign to unseat five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township), Malinowski raised more than $6.2 million. He flipped the seat in the mid-term election by 16,200 votes, 52%-47%.
At this point two years ago, Kean had raised $938,065, but had been in the race for six months. He had brought in $507,462 after his first three months as a candidate.
Kean faces a primary challenge from former U.S. Food and Drug Administration official Rik Mehta, the 2020 GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, and from 27-year-old political newcomer John Henry Isemann, the son of a Morris County clergyman who left a career in finance to take on the race.
A fourth Republican, Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin), says he’ll consider whether he’ll run for Congress after his current campaign for re-election to the legislature is over next month.