CRANFORD – “What we came for America, our democracy, rule of law, having a government that actually cares about people, that’s responsible and not corrupt. We don’t want another Ferdinand Marcos running the United States of America, we want a normal American president,” said incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski, who is seeking reelection to represent New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.
At a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign pitstop in Cranford on Sunday, Malinowski spoke to more than a hundred supporters. An hour before the scheduled start, he went around the area and greeted those in attendance.
The event, which was held outdoors at the parking lot of Union County College, had some attendees remain in their cars to listen to the speeches. When not in their vehicles, they wore masks and observed social distancing guidelines.
“I am an immigrant and I think everyone who came to America, whether from the Philippines, or Poland, in my case or from Central America, wherever my might h
ave come from, we chose America because this is a place that respects the law for everybody that respects equality, it’s a place where we can trust our government not to be corrupt,” he told a small group consisting of some Filipinos.
Malinowski was born in Skupsk, Poland and when he was six, he and his mother fled to the United States.
Malinowski won in 2018, breaking the decades-long Republican stronghold and turning the historically red district to blue. He was the first Democrat to win the 7th district since the 1950s and led a “blue wave” in New Jersey, which flipped four formerly Republican held seats.
This cycle, he is facing a challenger in State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, who comes from a long line of politicians in New Jersey. Tom is the son of former Gov. Thomas Kean, Sr. and former U.S. Representative Robert Kean is his grandfather.
“I missed this. I’ve been campaigning from my kitchen for the past few months,” Malinowski said as he addressed the crowd. “Good government matters, good leaders matter. This is not a reality show.”
He also talked about what his office has accomplished, from helping thousands of constituents with issues related to the COVID-19 crisis “to securing vital funding for the Portal North Bridge, my highest priority is helping the people of New Jersey’s 7th District.”
The race in the district remains to be one of the closest races and most competitive in the state and nation.
“We know that it is a tight race, we know what’s at stake here and that is why we’re here to extend our support to Malinowski,” said Filipino American Jen Baquial, former president of the Sirens Women’s Motorcycle Club, the oldest and largest women’s motorcycle club in New York City.
Ledy Almadin, a Filipino American community leader and a resident of the district, told the Asian Journal that she is supporting Malinowski “because of his knowledge and experience in public policy.”
“He is a great lawmaker and less [of a] politician and he can, and is willing to, work on both sides of the aisle,” she said. “He also knows what his district needs and he shows compassion to the people and their issues.”
Gov. Phil Murphy delivered a speech at the drive-in rally. He was scheduled to appear in person but a senior staffer tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon.
“Tom has been fighting for the right things for a long time,” said Murphy, who spoke on the phone and called on the constituents to vote for him. “It’s an awful campaign they are running against him. We have to make sure everybody digs deep, step up and do the right thing.”
Murphy said that the first time he heard Malinowski’s name was from Senator John McCain.
“He was speaking glowingly about Tom’s work as it relates to human rights.” Murphy shared.
The governor also shared that as of the weekend, about 2.5 million ballots have been received so far and that 3.9 million ballots were cast in 2016.
The district, ranked fifth, is one of the richest congressional districts in the country with a median household income of $104,987. It includes all of Hunterdon County, and parts of Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties.
He served as a Senior Director on President Clinton’s National Security Council and as the chief advocate for Human Rights Watch, where he led the bipartisan campaign to end the use of torture by the Bush Administration.
Under the Obama Administration he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor where he helped lead America’s fight for human rights around the world.