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Rep. Tom Malinowski. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Malinowski will run for re-election in 7th district

By Joey Fox, January 10 2022 10:35 am

After weeks of speculation, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) announced in a seven-word statement this morning that he plans on running for re-election to a third term.

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends,” Malinowski said, citing another leader attempting to defy the odds: King Henry V in Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Like his monarchical predecessor, Malinowski faces a daunting campaign ahead of him. The new congressional map released last month shifted Malinowski’s district six points to the right by removing heavily Democratic towns in Union and Essex Counties and replacing them with Republican turf in the state’s sparsely populated west.

What’s more, Malinowski is locked in a likely rematch with Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), a top Republican recruit seeking a rematch, though Kean first has to win a primary against Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin). In 2020, under more favorable district lines, Malinowski still only defeated Kean by around one percentage point.

Since that first narrow win against Kean, Malinowski has also become embroiled in a stock-trading scandal, though the House Ethics Committee has not yet determined if Malinowski committed wrongdoing.

But despite the obstacles to a third term, Malinowski has already begun waging an aggressive campaign, attacking Kean for his party’s support of Donald Trump and raising a huge $900,000 in the fourth quarter.

Shortly after Malinowski’s announcement, the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) released a statement saying his decision means he has “opted for unemployment” in 2023.

“If Tom Malinowski were smart, he would quit before he gets fired,” NRCC spokeswoman Samantha Bullock said.

Kean’s campaign manager, Dan Scharfenberger, said that Malinowski was “going to deny, deflect and play dumb every step of the way to cling on to this seat. ”

“Here are the facts; Tom Malinowski chose to break the law, chose to hide his pandemic stock trades, chose to rubber stamp 100% of Joe Biden’s agenda and there is nothing he can do to hide from it,” said Scharfenberger.

This story was updated at 10:47 a.m. with a statement from the NRCC and at 12:46 PM with comment from Kean’ s campaign manager.

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