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Rosemary Becchi

Kean camp slams Becchi for DCCC contribution

By Nikita Biryukov, April 24 2019 6:48 pm

Editor’s Note: This story was updated with comment from Becchi at 9:49 p.m.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean’s congressional campaign is hitting Rosemary Becchi over a $500 contribution to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee the latter made in 2010.

“If she’s going to run, then running in a primary against a lobbyist who supported Nancy Pelosi will be good practice for the general election when we run against Tom Malinowski,” Kean campaign spokesman Harrison Neely said.

Becchi, now the president of Jersey First, a 501(c)(4) group that advocates for conservative tax policy, was a partner at Patton Boggs between 2010 and 2014. The firm was one of the largest U.S. lobbying firms at the time.

Though Becchi does not appear to have ever made direct contributions to House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, she made a $500 contribution to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2010.

“If Tom Kean Jr. wants a fight, I suggest he spends his time attacking Governor Murphy and helping get fellow Republicans elected this year instead of attacking me when I’m not even a candidate,” Becchi said. “As for this issue Senator Kean raised, the donation was to support the late Tom Boggs, who had given me paid time off from work to care for my sick daughter.  Sometimes in life, you do things to support the friends who support you.”

The candidate also gave money to two former Democratic U.S. Senators from Montana. She donated $1,000 to former Sen. Max Baucus in 2007 and $500 to former Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2004.

The vast majority of Becchi’s political giving, roughly $37,000, was meted out to Republicans. She donated $1,000 to Kean’s State Senate re-election campaign in 2018. That same year, she gave $1,000 to Rep. Tom MacArthur, who lost his re-election race last November, and House candidate Tony Ghee, who lost against Assemblyman Jay Webber in the 11th district’s Republican primary.

Becchi, a former tax counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, announced she was forming a committee to explore a run in the seventh congressional district. That announcement came one week after Kean (R-Westfield) kicked off his bid for the seat.

“This is exactly the type of insider political bullying that disgusts New Jersey voters, and it is exactly why I am exploring a potential candidacy for the district seven congressional seat,” Becchi said. “While New Jersey families are being buried by increasing taxes and the skyrocketing cost of living in this state, ineffective leaders like Tom Kean, Jr., who have a grip on New Jersey’s government leadership, are more worried about whether I made a donation to a friend in an opposing political camp than if your taxes go up yet again.”

Many Republicans, including county leaders, in the district have since coalesced around Kean.

“I think Rosemary’s heart is in the right place and she wants to beat Tom Malinowski like the rest of the Republicans, but she would need to make a compelling argument as to why she could put the type of campaign together that could win,” Hunterdon GOP Chairman Pat Torpey said.

Torpey has yet to endorse either candidate, but he appeared alongside four other county chairmen at Kean’s kickoff last week.

Glenn Mortimer, who chairs the Kean’s home county of Union, has endorsed Kean, though that endorsement came before Becchi announced her exploratory committee.

Mortimer did not immediately respond a call and voicemail seeking comment. The first attempt to reach Mortimer was made at 3:46 p.m.

“Senator Kean, coming out of Union County really has a chance to win that part of the district or break even based on his electoral base, his name, his representation of Union County, and if that’s the case, it makes it very difficult for Tom Malinowski to win a general election,” Torpey said. “Rosemary coming from Millburn, there’s not a compelling base issue for her to make coming from the only town from Essex County.”

Kean’s running mate, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) did not speak ill of Becchi, who he said he had met only occasionally, but reiterated his full-throated support of the Senate minority leader.

“I don’t know her very well. I’ve met her on occasion. I’ve spoken to her, but being 100% Tom Kean Jr. — anyone’s permitted to run,” Bramnick said. “Anyone can run, I’m just a big fan of the senator.”

Tom Phillips, a 41-year-old human resources executive from Scotch Plains, was the first Republican to announce his intention to seek the seat.

Kean’s campaign responded to Becchi’s potential with a bit of venom, taking aim at the former senate staffer’s time on K Street.

“If Tom Kean Jr. wants a fight, I suggest he spends his time attacking Governor Murphy and helping get fellow Republicans elected this year instead of attacking me when I’m not even a candidate,” Becchi said.  “As for this issue Senator Kean raised, the donation was to support the late Tom Boggs, who had given me paid time off from work to care for my sick daughter.  Sometimes in life, you do things to support the friends who support you.”

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One thought on “Kean camp slams Becchi for DCCC contribution

  1. Becchi personal contribution to DCCC. Game, set, and match, Rosemary.
    Contribution to 2-time Obama voter Tony Ghee. Lobbyist Becchi is cozy with Dems.

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