Former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) has been out of office for nearly three months, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from his social media feed.
On Twitter, the former swing-district congressman has maintained a steady presence praising Democratic accomplishments in Washington and attacking congressional Republicans. Yesterday he went further, critiquing the man who beat him last year, Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), over a recent telephone town hall Kean hosted.
“Telephone town halls are a great way to communicate, if you call out to a broad cross section of constituents,” Malinowski tweeted in response to a post from Kean. “When I held them, I always notified in advance everyone who’d signed up for my mailing list, and then released the full audio for those who couldn’t join.”
During his three campaigns in the 7th congressional district, Malinowski put major emphasis on town halls and constituent accessibility. According to his office, he held more than 140 town halls during his two terms, and he repeatedly castigated Kean last year for not being accessible enough to the public or press.
The fact that Malinowski is tweeting on the subject once again is a sign that he’s contemplating a comeback campaign.
In the meantime, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jonathan Salant, Malinowski – who remained in New Jersey after his loss – is redirecting his efforts towards fighting back against conservative groups in school board elections. But until he decides what his longer-term plans are, Democratic efforts to take back the 7th district will remain in flux.
Some potential candidates have already ruled out a bid, including former U.S. Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Jim Johnson, Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough), U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s chief of staff Matt Klapper, and brand-new Port Authority Commissioner Joe Kelley. Working Families Party state director Sue Altman is still considering running, as is former State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth).
It’s unlikely anyone will announce a campaign while Malinowski is still undecided, putting pressure on the congressman to either get in or get out. And in a Biden-won district that Kean flipped by just three points in 2022, national Democrats will be itching to get the campaign in gear as soon as possible.
Whenever Malinowski does choose his next steps, Kean’s campaign is ready and waiting. Kean himself didn’t respond to Malinowski’s tweet yesterday – that’s not really his social media style – but several Republicans affiliated with his campaign were happy to do so.
“Tom Malinowski is that crazy ex who just can’t move on,” tweeted New Jersey GOP executive director Tom Szymanski. “Sad!”