Democratic insiders say that Lisa Mandelblatt’s endorsement of rival Tom Malinowski gives State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) some cover to push the Union organization line away from Linda Weber if he wins the special election for county chairman later this month.
There had been some pressure on Democrats to back a woman challenger to Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) in the 7th district race, but there’s more going on behind the scenes than gender. Weber is allied with Scutari’s opponent in the party leadership fight, acting county chair Colleen Mahr, while many people on Scutari’s side are backing Malinowski.
Earlier today, Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach, who is the secretary of the Democratic State Committee, and Hunterdon County Democratic State Committeewoman Karen Becker, called on Democrats to unite behind Malinowski, a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State under President Obama. Yesterday, Lacey Rzeszowski, who nearly toppled an incumbent Assemblywoman in a Republican district last fall, endorsed Malinowski.
Malinowski, a late entry in the race, raised the most money in the fourth quarter. He is reportedly the favorite candidate of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which is gently nudging party leaders in that direction even though they have not made any formal endorsements.
Weber has the organization lines in Somerset and Essex counties and has raised $318,484 as of the end of last year. But she has burned through more than half her cash and only had $132,590 left.
Malinowski has brought in $528,471 and has $446,082 cash-on-hand. He appears to be leveraging his connections and his donor list includes Philip Roth, Caroline Kennedy, Barbra Streisand, , former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, former U.S. National Security advisor Samantha Power, Susan Rice, George Soros, and Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky.