Linda Weber was a little shell-shocked by her loss in Union County – sources say she expected to win after Garwood Democratic Municipal Chairman Hugh Sinclair said he would vote for her, but instead delivered the deciding vote to Tom Malinowski. Now she needs to decide if she will remain in the race or end her campaign for the Democratic congressional nomination to take on Leonard Lance.
Democrats close to Weber said tonight that they expect her to drop out. She has said that she would drop out if she failed to be the organization candidate in enough counties to put her over the 50% mark of Democratic primary voters. With Somerset and Essex, she is at 37%, with Malinowski – on the line in Union, Hunterdon, Warren and Morris – at 63%. But if she decides to stay in the race, she won’t be the first candidate to dial back an earlier pledge made against the backdrop of a changed environment.
Another candidate, Goutam Jois, is expected to remain in the race. Sources familiar with his strategy say his path to the nomination was never based on organizational support. He may either find himself as the heir to Weber’s support if she gets out – the race took a nasty turn in the lead-in to the Union County vote – or benefit from taking the high road as two contenders with lines continue to beat each other up. He has the benefit of a healthy warchest. (Political junkies may recall the 2004 Illinois Democratic U.S. Senate primary, when the contest between the two leading candidates became so negative that voters instead went with the candidate who had been running third in that race: State Sen. Barack Obama.)
Also in the race are environmental activist David Pringle and 2016 nominee Peter Jacob. Neither look like they are leaving.