Gov. Phil Murphy was in Somerset Saturday to stump for two of the state’s congressional candidates, one of whom — former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski — likely needs it more than the other.
The stop featuring Malinowski and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman was one of many the Governor made on Saturday as he continued his 21-county tour to pump up Democratic Turnout ahead of Tuesday’s election.
“Leonard Lance is not a bad guy,” Murphy said of Malinowski’s opponent. “He’s just not our guy. I’m sick of a guy who says one thing in New Jersey and does another in Washington, and health care is the thing that jumps off the page. With all due respect, Leonard, you can’t have it both ways. It’s as clear as a bell. You’re either for the Affordable Care Act, or you’re not.”
Though Lance voted against the American Health care Act, congressional Republicans’ failed attempt at repealing the ACA, when it came before the House, he voted in favor of the bill in committee.
Still, that issue isn’t likely to be as big a vulnerability for Lance as it is for Rep. Tom MacArthur, who authored an amendment to the bill.
Perhaps the more important takeaway from the Somerset rally is that candidates and their campaigns are increasingly moving to such events in an effort to animate voters and give a last-second boost to their get-out-the-vote efforts.
The strategy is crystallized in an exchange Malinowski recounted having with his campaign manager, Colston Reid.
“This Monday, she looked at me and she said ‘Tom, you are increasingly useless to us.’ And in a way it’s true, right?” Malinowski said. “I have done most of what I need to do in this campaign. I’ve gotten my message out. People know what I am. People know what I stand for. They know what I’ve done in my life.”
The efforts might be providing returns for Malinowski, who said at the rally that 1,000 people came to a canvas launch earlier in the day.
“So many people came that it shut the block that Bob Hugin lives on,” Malinowski said.