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Weber will hold Somerset line if she remains in race

Withdrawal could create convention contest — or not

By David Wildstein, March 12 2018 11:50 am

If Linda Weber drops out of the 7th district Democratic congressional primary, Somerset County Democrats could pick a new candidate at their March 28 convention.  They could also simply decide to forgo a vote and award the line to the candidate who finished second at their January executive committee vote, Tom Malinowski.

Weber beat Malinowski in that vote 12-5.

Sources say that if Weber remains in the race, she will continue to run as the organization candidate in Somerset County.  Weber said during the campaign that she would drop out if she failed to secure enough organization lines in the counties that combined for half the Democratic primary vote.  She has just Somerset and Essex, which represent 37% combined.

On Saturday, an official from Emily’s List told Democratic municipal chairs in Union County that the group would endorse Weber if she carried Union.  She lost that contest by one vote.

In an open convention vote, Malinowski might have an advantage.  He has already secured lines in Union, Hunterdon, Warren and Morris.  More significantly, Somerset’s largest municipalities – Bridgewater, Hillsborough, and Somerville – supported him at the January meeting.  Conventions are weighted in favor of population, while

Malinowski’s challenge will be to convince Weber’s supporters to back his campaign – something that might happen by the fall, not maybe not right away.  The recent fight over Union County got a little toxic in the final week.

That could open the door to a last-minute challenge by Goutam Jois, a young, well-financed attorney who seems to have impressed party leaders since entering the congressional race last year.  Jois has participated in the convention votes, but his strategy was never based on securing organization lines.

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