A New Jersey Republican who sits on top of the national Democratic target list for 2024 has set a fundraising record for the most money raised by a freshman Member of Congress in their first three months in office in state history.
Rep. Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) raised a mammoth $831,000 during the first quarter of 2023 and has $735,745 cash-on-hand as he prepares to seek re-election to a second term as the congressman from New Jersey’s 7th district.
Kean’s massive fundraising haul tops the $752,000 raised by the Human Fundraising Machine, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), during the first three months of his congressional career. He also raised more than three freshman Democrats after the first quarter of 2019: Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) raised $562,000; Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) brought in $556,000; and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) had receipts of $553,000.
Last year, Kean ousted Malinowski by 8,691 votes, 51%-49%, in a newly-drawn district that made the 7th considerably more favorable to Republicans; Democrats drew the map.
Kean came within one percentage point of defeating Malinowski in 2020; he lost by 5,411 votes.
Democrats have not yet identified a candidate to challenge Kean, although the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has said flipping NJ-7 is among their top priorities.
Malinowski has not ruled out running again next year, and Democrats appear to be waiting for his decision. If he does run, it would be the third consecutive Kean vs. Malinowski faceoff.
Sue Altman, a progressive leader and the executive director of New Jersey Working Families, is viewed as a possible candidate. Three other possible candidates – Matt Klapper, the chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, and a former top aide to U.S. Senator Cory Booker; former Deputy U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jim Johnson; and Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) – have indicated that they won’t run. Former State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) is exploring a bid.
“We have had a huge outpouring of support because people understand that we need to continue the legislative momentum built in just the first three months of the 118th Congress,” Kean said. “Whether it is lowering energy costs or stopping inflationary spending, I am proud of what we in the House have accomplished so far. I will continue to listen and lead on behalf of New Jersey families in Washington, DC.”
The 7th district had been in Republican hands for 62 years before Malinowski beat five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in 2018.
Kean served in the New Jersey Legislature for more than two decades and is the longest-serving State Senate Minority Leader in state history.
The son of former two-term Gov. Thomas H. Kean is the latest member of his family to serve in Congress over the last 238 years. His great-great-great-great grandfather, John Kean, served in the Continental Congress after being picked by General George Washington to watch over the funds of the Revolutionary Army. His great-grandfather, Hamilton Kean, served in the United States Senate, and his grandfather, Robert W. Kean (R-Livingston), served ten terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.