Asked today whether he plans on supporting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) if elected to Congress, former State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) had a simple answer: “Yes.”
The answer, in response to a question from News12’s Alex Zdan at a rally in Belvidere, wasn’t surprising; the House Republican apparatus has long supported Kean’s congressional bid, and McCarthy himself was present at Kean’s campaign launch last summer.
But as McCarthy works to assuage both conservatives and moderates in his bid to become Speaker, the commitment of support from a potential swing-seat caucus member is still important. Another Republican running in a competitive New Jersey district, 3rd district candidate Bob Healey, was more oblique when asked the same question last month, complimenting McCarthy but not promising his vote.
Kean also said today that if elected, he’d seek to join the Problem Solvers Caucus, a collection of House members perfectly balanced between the two parties.
“I’ve said that for years,” Kean said. “I said that last cycle, and I repeat that.”
One notable member of the caucus currently is Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), Kean’s opponent this year. The caucus is a frequent landing ground for moderate members of the House – yet Kean and Malinowski have tried to cast one another as party-line extremists as they fight for New Jersey’s most competitive congressional district.