Linda Weber is suspending her campaign for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district, making former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Tom Malinowski the clear front-runner to take on Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) in the fall.
Sources say that Weber has been calling party leaders notifying them of her decision this evening, two days after losing the Union County Democratic organization line by one vote. Her withdrawal narrows the field to four Democrats: Malinowski, attorney Goutam Jois, environmental activist David Pringle and 2016 nominee Peter Jacob.
Jois is considered the strongest rival to Malinowski, based on his fundraising and positive impressions on the campaign trail. The narrow contest in Union became toxic in the final few weeks and Jois could make a play for Weber supporters who might find it difficult to move to Malinowski so quickly/
Weber has the organization lines in Somerset and Essex counties. Somerset must decide if they will open the slot to a vote at their convention later this month, or simply award it to Malinowski, who finished second at an executive committee vote in January. Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones is expected to endorse a candidate after consultation with the Millburn Democratic Chairman.
In addition to Union, Malinowski has also secured organization endorsements in Hunterdon, Warren and Morris counties.