The race for the Republican organization line for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district is headed to a runoff after former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. led 27-year-old businessman John Henry Isemann on the first ballot by 12 votes.
Kean received 48 votes, followed by Isemann with 36. Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin) is in third place with 23 votes, and Phil Rizzo, the former pastor and real estate developer, last with 20 votes.
The four candidates are seeking the chance to challenge Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in a district that became decidedly more Republican after congressional redistricting.
In 2020, Kean came within 1% of ousting Malinowski.
Kean won the Hunterdon County GOP convention last month after a runoff with Peterson. Isemann finished a strong third in that race.