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Tom Phillips, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in the seventh district of New Jersey

Debt exceeds warchest for Kean primary opponent

Tom Phillips has been seeking GOP nod in NJ-7 for more than a year

By David Wildstein, February 03 2020 5:43 pm

Tom Phillips has just $3,041 cash-on-hand for an uphill bid for the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district.

Phillips, a human resources executive from Scotch Plains, raised just $1,474 during the 4th quarter of 2019 and $10,693 in total since entering the race to challenge freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) more than one year ago.

The campaign has a debt of $3,559, the amount of personal loans Phillips has made to his own campaign.

Republicans have essentially cleared the field for Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., who is almost certain to be the candidate against Malinowski.

That race ended last month when Kean’s main challenger, former U.S. Senate Finance Committee tax counsel Rosemary Becchi dropped out of the 7th district race and is now challenging freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in the 11th.

Becchi has endorsed Kean.

Kean won 99.5% of the vote at the Union County Republican convention last week, securing the organization line in his home county.  He defeated Summit businessman Rob Trugman, 198 to 1.  Phillips, who lives in the 12th district — Scotch Plains is split — received no votes.

Trugman entered the race in October and did not file a year-end report with the Federal Election Commission.  That means Trugman either missed the January 31 deadline or failed to meet the $5,000 threshold.

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