This is about as grass roots as you can get in an internal party contest: congressional candidate Scott Salmon is on a twelve-hour swing through Warren County in a final push for votes before tomorrow’s Warren County Democratic convention.
Salmon, a 27-year-old attorney from Scotch Plains, is one of six Democrats seeking the Warren organization line in his bid to take on Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) in the fall. He started at 7AM in Phillipsburg and will cover a significant part of the expansive county before ending in Washington at 7PM. The Salmon campaign will do three live-stream broadcasts throughout the day.
A former congressional aide who entered the race virtually unknown, Salmon has impressed Democratic insiders by his command of issues, his work ethic, and his use of technology as a way of reaching voters. He’s also raised nearly $100,000 – something that has not escaped the attention of the political intelligentsia. Salmon faces an uphill battle to win the nomination, but if nothing else, he has placed himself squarely on the radar screen of the Democratic leadership in New Jersey.
In past years, Democratic party leaders would have been the ones to try to recruit Salmon, but with the seventh district seat now sampling leaning Republican and not safe, there is tremendous competition for the right to challenge Lance, a five-term incumbent. Tom Malinowski, who served as Assistant U.S. Secretary of State under President Obama, has moved back to New Jersey to make the race. Linda Weber, a Berkeley Heights banker, has the lines in Somerset and Essex.
Lisa Mandelblatt, who had raised the most money – mostly self-funded – dropped out this week and endorsed Malinowski. Still in the race: Goutam Jois, a young Summit attorney who has also been impressive on the campaign trail and has raised a significant amount of money; Peter Jacob, the 2016 nominee against Lance; and environmental activist David Pringle.