Gov. Phil Murphy and Rep. Tom Malinowski stumped for Democratic challengers in the 21st legislative district Sunday afternoon.
There, Democrats Stacey Gunderman and Lisa Mandelblatt are vying to take out Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz.
“We don’t just need Democrats in Trenton. We need a particular kind of Democrat. We need people who don’t care about having the job. We care about people who just want the job because they want to get things done,” Malinowski said. “We need people like Lisa and Stacey who’ve never run for office before. They decided to run for office because there was work that needed to be done.”
The rally outside of the Westfield Train Station lasted for roughly 30 minutes, not counting the time the candidates and elected officials spent milling about with the 50 or so attendees, which included local candidates in Westfield and Freeholders Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded and Bette Jane Kowalski.
With the election so near, moving candidates and volunteers, or potential volunteers, away from canvassing efforts is a dangerous play.
On the flip side, such events can draw new canvassers or otherwise energize a base during grueling election day weekends.
It can also serve to remind voters to actually cast their ballots.
“My family and I, we already voted at the kitchen table. We already voted by mail, and thank everyone who has returned their vote by mail ballot,” Gunderman said. “If it’s still on the kitchen table, put stamps on it and get it in the mailbox today.”
As of Friday, the Democratic candidates were up 14 points in mail-in ballots. While that figure will likely move after the ballots received this weekend are added to the total, Democrats’ VBM lead in the 21st has largely held steady over the past week.
It’s important to note that the margin is based on party registration, and not all voters will pull the lever for all of the Democrats on the ballot.
The district’s Assembly race is expected to be one of the closest in the state, and Democrats are urging their base to not get complacent,
“Your vote literally can make the difference, either in town, in the district or in the county. Please god get out to vote. There’s no extra amount of energy that is not worth it right now,” Murphy said. “The extra text, the extra text, phone call, the extra ride to the polls, the extra $5. Whatever it might be, anything right now could have the payback to determine whether or not we win or lose these elections.”