Local and federal races too close to call in upcoming midterm elections


Photo courtesy of 270towin.com

The light pink shading of the Seventh Congressional District illustrates the projected close and contentious midterm elections on Nov. 8.

On Nov. 8, all members of the House of Representatives as well as 34 Senators will be up for re-election in the midterms. In Westfield, Emily Root and Amanda Como will compete for the Ward 1 town council seat which became open after Councilman Jim Boyes resigned.

In the midterm elections, the party of the current president usually fares poorly, and 2022 doesn’t seem to be any different. Democrats currently have control of the House and Senate, both by slim margins. According to fivethirtyeight.com, as of Oct. 24, Democrats have a 55 percent chance of retaining control of the Senate and a 20 percent chance of keeping the House. Democrats’ polling performance has declined in recent weeks, as they previously had a 66 percent chance of retaining their Senate majority.

In New Jersey’s 7th district, which encompasses all of Westfield, Tom Kean and Representative Tom Malinowski are facing off for the second time in an extremely close race. According to newjerseyglobe.com, recent polls show Malinowski and Kean tied at 47 percent. Malinowski beat Kean by just 5,000 votes in 2020, and this upcoming election is expected to be even closer, since New Jersey’s recent redistricting added 27,000 registered Republicans into the 7th district according to The New York Times.

Furthermore, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently pulled almost all of their funding from this race. Nonetheless, the DCCC maintains that even though Malinowski is not getting any new funding from the organization, they have still made a significant contribution to his campaign.

In Ward 1, incumbent Councilwoman Emily Root will face off against Amanda Como. Root was appointed to the town council by Mayor Shelley Brindle after Boyes resigned over controversy about building projects around Westfield that directly impacted his neighborhood.

Both Root and Como are feeling optimistic going into this election. Como ran and lost against Boyes in the last election cycle, but said, “[I feel] much better [about] this election cycle, as last year was my first time running for public office. This time around I know exactly what to expect so the fear of the unknown is gone.”

While both candidates have the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life and economy of Westfield, Root and Como have different priorities.

Como, running as a Republican, stresses the importance of political balance on the town council. The council currently has seven Democrats and one Republican, so her election would bring more political diversity. According to tapinto.com, she said, “My concern is that our leadership has become too partisan. There is not enough balance when it comes to diversity of thought, ideas and approach during major decision making that will impact Westfield’s future.”

Root, a Democrat, places the most emphasis on revitalizing downtown and making sure that businesses can stay afloat. In an interview with tapinto.com, she said, “Our downtown is turning the corner. But we can always do better. Having a strong downtown raises the values of every property in town. During the weekdays, there are few people eating in restaurants and shopping in our stores. Our restaurateurs and merchants need business during the weekday to thrive.”

The town council election will likely bring in a higher turnout than in most years because it is concurrent with the midterm elections. Both Root and Como feel confident that the high voter turnout will benefit them.

In-person early voting in New Jersey is available until Nov. 6, and the closest polling place to Westfield is Union College in Cranford. The deadline for in-person mail-in ballot applications is 3 p.m. on Nov. 7, and election day is on Nov. 8. For more information about voting, polling places, and registration, visit nj.gov/state/elections/vote.shtml.