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Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr.. (R-Westfield). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Kean fundraiser scheduled in Kenilworth

Chili and beer tasting brings echoes of ‘a beer in a bar in Bayonne’

By Nikita Biryukov, February 12 2020 1:08 pm

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean will hold a chili and craft beer tasting fundraiser later this month.

Tickets to the Feb. 25 event in Kenilworth cost $50, or $35 for those under the age of 35. They cost $60 at the door.

Sponsorship comes with three levels, each named after peppers.

Those run either $250 for jalapeños, $500 for chipotles, or $1,000 for habaneros.

Kean is mounting a challenge to Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) in the state’s seventh congressional district.

There’s a parallel between the folksy fundraising event and a campaign attack Kean’s father, former Gov. Tom Kean Sr., faced during his 1981 primary race.

Millionaire businessman Joseph Sullivan then launched an ad against the elder Kean that targeted the soon-to-be governor’s wealth.

“Can you see him having a beer in a bar in Bayonne,” one of the ad’s actors said.

After seeing the ad, Gov. Kean promised to bear Sullivan and buy him a beer there.

He eventually did both.

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