Republican Rosemary Becchi, a former tax counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, has announced she will challenge Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr, (R-Westfield) for the chance to take on freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) in New Jersey’s 7th district next year.
“I love this state, my neighbors and the people my family has surrounded ourselves with,” Becchi said. “But everyone I meet – whether I’m rushing to work, at the store or during my daughters’ hockey practices-are all worried whether they can afford to stay here, to grow old with their families and share a future together.”
Kean, the son of former Gov. Tom Kean and a legislator since 2001, entered the race in April. He announced yesterday that he had already raised more than $500,000 for his bid to unseat Malinowski.
In a poll released last week by the National Republican Congressional Committee, an unknown Republican later identified as Kean leads Malinowski 44%-42% — a statistically insignificant 2% margin.
Before going to work for the U.S. Senate, Becchi was a staff attorney in the office of the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service. She later worked for a top accounting firm, for Citigroup and Fidelity Investments, and has been a partner at two major law firms.
Becchi, a Short Hills resident, now works for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a Washington, D.C law and lobbying firm.
Her campaign, announced on Bill Spadea’s 101.5 morning show, is planning to focus on economic issues.
“The state is simply unaffordable, and the career politicians are a big part of the problem. They just point fingers and make excuses while building their political resumes. New Jersey families need an advocate; someone who wants to go to Washington to do something, not be something,” Becchi said. “I understand hard work and building consensus. I also understand it’s time to be heard. On behalf of New Jersey families, I can make a difference.”
Malinowski remains largely unknown to most voters, according to the NRCC poll. The new congressman has favorables of 29%-16%, with 54% of voters saying they haven’t heard of him, or still don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
In the first quarter of 2019, Malinowski raised $562,384 and had $548,375 cash-on-hand, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Malinowski had the biggest fundraising haul of the state’s four freshman Democratic House members.
There are 4,985 more Republicans than Democrats in the 7th, which supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election by a 48%-47% margin – a 4,139-vote plurality.
Malinowski beat five term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) by 16,400 votes (52%-47%), becoming the first Democrat to win the 7th district seat since 1956.
As a first-time candidate, Malinowski raised nearly $6.3 million – more than double what Lance raised.
Kean raised nearly $7.9 million when he ran statewide twelve years ago.