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Two-term Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey faces a very tough re-election this year.

It’s not just that the country’s Democrats face historic headwinds — as the party that wins the White House traditionally loses about 25 House seats in the ensuing midterm elections — and to a very difficult political climate dominated by soaring inflation and capped by President Biden’s negative approval ratings.

Malinowski, who in 2018 became the first Democrat in four decades to win election in New Jersey’s traditionally red 7th congressional district and won re-election in 2020 by a wafer-thin margin, is seeking a third term in a redesigned district to be more Republican-friendly though the once-a-decade redistricting process.

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Facing a tough road ahead, Malinowski is keeping tabs on the number one issue among his constituents, which he says is the economy.

“Over the past two years, we have saved tens of millions of jobs by bringing the American economy back to death’s door. Now we must save the paychecks that come with those jobs by tackling the crisis. supply chain, gas prices and inflation,” the congressman said in an interview with Fox News on the eve of Tuesday’s primary in New Jersey.

Democratic Representative Tom Malinowski of New Jersey speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on September 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
(Stefani Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images)

“What we’re seeing is where Republicans are actually in power in states like Texas, they’re not doing anything for the economy,” Malinowski said. “They seem to be obsessed with culture war issues like banning abortion and censoring textbooks and removing protections for lesbians and gay Americans. That’s not what most voters are about. in my district want the government to focus right now. They want us to fix the economy.”

But one of those culture war issues — abortion — could benefit Malinowski.

While the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, almost half a century old, the issue of abortion is again at the center of attention. And many Democrats say such a scenario would energize their party’s base, including the suburban women who helped Malinowski and other House Democrats win and helped them win a House majority. mid-term in 2018.

“If the Supreme Court does what we expect of it, that would be terrible for the country, but it will also serve as a reminder that the Republican Party does things that the overwhelming majority of Americans consider outside the mainstream,” he said. Malinowski said. .

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He pointed out that “the overwhelming majority of my constituents, regardless of their personal beliefs on this complicated issue, do not want to go back to a time when women and doctors were treated like criminals for making decisions about their pregnancies. For the past few years, Democrats have raced on this issue. We said if you elect Republicans, it could happen. Most voters didn’t believe it. They thought Roe v. Wade was the established law. of the country. Over the next few months, it will be clear that the Republicans meant exactly what they said.”

And Malinowski warned that “we’re not going to see just the Supreme Court decision, but laws enacted or reinstated state after state that criminalize abortion even from the moment of conception, even when the life of the mother is in danger. It’s going to get very real very soon.”

Malinowski, who served on the National Security Council during President Bill Clinton’s administration and as assistant secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s administration, faces token opposition in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Tom Kean Jr. is a Republican candidate in the race to represent New Jersey's 7th congressional district

Tom Kean Jr. is a Republican candidate in the race to represent New Jersey’s 7th congressional district
(Tom Kean Jr. Campaign)

The Republican he narrowly edged out two years ago, Tom Kean Jr., is the clear favorite in a packed GOP primary.

Kean, a longtime former state legislator who enjoys the support of National Republicans, is the son of former two-term Republican Governor Tom Kean, who more than three decades after leaving office remains a well-known figure. beloved of Garden State politics.

Malinowski says the younger Kean’s political pedigree “kinda goes both ways for him.”

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“He’s a guy who’s lived his whole life on his father’s behalf while destroying his father’s legacy. If you’re a Tom Kean Republican, you should be prepared to say that a violent attack on cops and the United States Capitol was not legitimate political speech. He refuses to say that. He is sent to Republican voters saying that Tom Kean supports Trump’s agenda. That’s not what his dad would have done” , explained Malinowski.

“What people love and remember is the legacy of Republican moderation. What puts them off is the extremism of the modern party and that’s what Kean Jr. has completely embraced” , said Malinowski, who was born in Poland before moving to New York. Jersey at 6 years old.

Kean, in an interview with Fox News, highlighted last year’s findings from the House Office of Congressional Ethics that found Malinowski failed to disclose stock trades within 45 days, which federal law requires. .

“Tom Malinowski violated a law that was supposed to prevent insider trading by members of Congress more than 140 times,” Kean said. “This is unacceptable. He earned himself bipartisan ethics review because he hid millions of dollars in stocks.”

And Kean said it was “clear that Tom Malinowski thinks he operates under a different set of rules than others” and that his actions during his time in Congress “will play a role because people realize that it’s is an ongoing diagram of how disconnected he is with the needs and concerns of the East Coast district he represents.”

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Responding to Kean’s comment, Malinowski said, “I fully owned and took responsibility for the late filing of some of my disclosures – I went beyond what the law requires by creating a fully blind trust for my savings.”

And taking aim at Kean, he argued that “if they’re going to campaign against me on that basis, it’s probably not a good idea to lead a guy like Kean, who’s lived exclusively on the stock market all his life. life, including multiple pandemic related investments, investments in Chinese companies that help the Chinese military to compete with ours.Kean is not a good candidate if you are trying to run a campaign based on stock market investments.

Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report