Press Release: Newly formed Moderate Party endorses Tom Malinowski for Congress, seeks fundamental reforms of unconstitutional New Jersey election system
New party formed to strengthen democracy, combat ideological extremism through the proven practice of fusion voting
Contact: Anthony Campisi
Seeking to combat growing political extremism and polarization, the newly formed Moderate Party has endorsed the re-election campaign of Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) for Congress — and is prepared to push for major reforms to New Jersey’s unconstitutional election laws to allow him to appear on the ballot under both the Democratic and Moderate Party lines.
The Moderate Party was recently formed by a a group of New Jersey Republicans, Independents, and Democrats turned off by both major parties’ drift to ideological extremes, and creates a home for pragmatic, middle of the road voters committed to protecting our democratic institutions. Unlike most third parties, the Moderate Party will offer its support, and the validation that comes with it, to the major party candidates who best reflect its values, restoring to centrist voters the voice and leverage they have lost.
“I’ve been a Republican all my life,” said Richard A. Wolfe, one of the Moderate Party’s founders and a three-term mayor and current township committee member of East Amwell Township, located in Malinowski’s district. “But I’ve watched with growing alarm in recent years as the Republican Party has put party over country, attacked our democratic norms and ignored the science on issues ranging from climate change to the COVID pandemic. I felt compelled to help form the Moderate Party because I believe the majority of voters in this country are neither far right nor far left, but reside at or close to the center. This majority feels that their party of choice, whether the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, no longer represents their views.”
The Moderate Party, which filed nominating petitions today on behalf of Malinowski, is also seeking fundamental reforms to New Jersey election law.
Currently, candidates in New Jersey are permitted to appear only once on the ballot, as the nominee of a single party. The Moderate Party believes this restriction violates the New Jersey Constitution and that “fusion voting,” a practice in which a candidate can appear on the ballot as the nominee of more than one party, is essential to protecting the right to vote, and the free speech and the equal protection rights, of both candidates and voters.
States like Connecticut and New York have long permitted fusion voting, and it has proven decisive in close-fought elections for candidates across the ideological spectrum.
In 2018, the 1,599 votes on the Working Families Party ballot line earned by Democrat Andrew Gounardes in Brooklyn was enough to push him over the top in his race against incumbent Republican Marty Golden for a New York state Assembly seat. In the end, Gounardes won by just 1271 votes.
And in 2020, Long Island Republican Anthony Palumbo’s 9,897 votes on the Conservative Party ballot line pushed him to victory ahead of the Democratic candidate for Assembly. Palumbo won by just 4663 votes.
This impact isn’t only seen downballot. Connecticut Democratic Governor Dan Malloy owed his 2010 victory to fusion. His narrow victory of fewer than 7,000 votes would have been a loss without the 26,000 votes cast that year for Malloy on the Working Families Party ballot line.
In New Jersey, fusion voting was permitted until the 1920s, when party bosses, seeking to consolidate their power, passed the current restrictions that the Moderate Party is prepared to challenge as unconstitutional.
Founders of the Moderate Party believe that fusion voting will emerge as an important voice of moderation that encourages candidates and elected officials to reach across the aisle as they court centrist voters.
And in Malinowski, they have found a candidate with a track record of focusing on finding solutions to our nation’s serious problems, both at home and abroad, who is committed to reaching across the aisle.
“Despite spending my life as a Republican, I strongly believe that Tom Malinowski is the representative we need in Washington because he understands that there are things more important than scoring political points,” said Michelle Garay, a former mayor of Alexandria, N.J., who was recently elected chair of the Moderate Party. “Like many voters in New Jersey and across the nation, I’ve grown disgusted by the political discourse in our country and have switched my registration to independent. This new Moderate Party will give a voice to voters like me and act as a stabilizing influence on a political system under threat.”
While Malinowski is the first candidate to be endorsed by the Moderate Party, the founders are preparing to be involved in other races as the movement grows.
“Forming the Moderate Party represents an important first step toward shoring up our democracy and changing the political discourse in our state and across the nation,” Wolfe said. “We’re excited to endorse Congressman Malinowski, but we’re even more excited to serve as an example of the type of politics that the voters in New Jersey want, with a focus on building bridges across ideological divides to deliver results for the residents of New Jersey.”