In court filings this week, attorneys for the New Jersey Republican State Committee called a lawsuit by Moderate Party founders seeking to run Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) as their candidate in New Jersey’s 7th district an “unlawful manipulation … by those intent on disregarding outstanding law to meet their momentary needs.”
Republicans have filed a motion to intervene in the case, where the fledgling party is appealing two rulings by Secretary of State Tahesha Way, a Democrat, that rejected petitions for Malinowski as their candidate because state law doesn’t permit candidates to appear more than once on the ballot for the same office.
The Moderate Party has appealed Way’s ruling directly to the appellate division, but did not ask for emergency relief. No judges have been assigned and there is little chance that this will be resolved before mail-in ballots go out on September 24.
“In an apparent effort to avoid direct involvement in this ligation, Malinowski and his allies have dispatched left-leaning special interest groups to engineer the formation a self-styled ‘Moderate Party’ to confuse voters by placing his name on the ballot twice,” wrote the Republican attorneys, Brian Nelson and Jason Sena of Archer & Grenier in a brief. “No one knows how many members the ‘Moderate Party’ has or where their money comes from.”
In a certification made to the court, Republican State Committee executive director Tom Szymanski said “permitting the listing of a candidate’s name on the general election ballot multiple times would create an ‘arms race” whereby political operatives would seek to form new ‘political parties’ to ensure that their preferred candidate’s name appeared on the ballot as many times as possible.”
“This would not only create a chaotic political atmosphere and incentivize bad behavior, but would result in the creating of lengthy and confusing general election ballots that would harm and confuse voters tremendously,” Szymanski stated.
Szymanski accused the Moderate Party, which was organized by two Republicans, former Alexandria Mayor Michelle Garay and East Amwell Township Committeeman Rick Wolfe, of using “guerilla tactics” to deceive voters.
“While they try to ‘hide the ball’ the real reason that this case was filed is clear to political observers: to try to drown out support for the Senator Tom Kean, Jr. by changing the general election ballot to favor his opponent,” he said.
The Moderate Party is challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s 100-year ban on fusion voting.