Two of the congressional candidates on the losing side of the battle for the Democratic organization line in Somerset County had different takes on the decision to endorse Linda Weber in the race to unseat Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton). Somerset held an executive committee meeting last night, instead of a convention; one sources said the 200+ crowd exceeded the number of people who might normally attend a convention.
Former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Tom Malinowski complained that he won the largest towns in the county – Bridgewater, Hillsborough and Somerville, along with Montgomery and Peapack-Gladstone – and that those five towns comprise more than 50% of the Democrats in the 7th district.
“Linda’s campaign benefited from the unique selection process Somerset employed this year. Had there been an open and transparent nominating convention in the spring, as has been Somerset’s typical process, I am confident we would have seen a different result.” said Malinowski’s Campaign Manager, Colston Reid.
Another candidate, Lisa Mandelblatt, instead praised the Somerset Democratic county chair.
“I appreciate all the work that Peg Schaffer has done to energize and mobilize Democrats in Somerset County. I am looking forward to taking my message of creating good paying jobs, improving public schools and protecting health care directly to the voters during the primary campaign,” Mandelblatt said. “As a native of the district, a working mom and community activist, I have the experience and fortitude needed to defeat Congressman Lance in the fall.”
Somerset makes up 35% of the Democratic primary election voters in the district. Union County, which is 28%, probably won’t be decided until Democrats elect a new county chairman next month.
Essex County, which accounts for just 2% of the primary vote in Lance’s district, also endorsed Weber.
“I spoke to the Millburn Democratic leadership and we agree Linda stands out as the most qualified candidate in a talented but crowded field,” said Essex Democratic county chairman LeRoy Jones. “Essex County is pleased to back her in our effort to turn the 7th district blue and take back the House of Representatives.”