Theresa Winegar will depart her post as executive director of the New Jersey Republican State Committee next month to manage Tom Kean’s campaign for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district.
Winegar joins Kean’s bid to unseat freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) with a strong track record as a state and national political operative.
“Theresa Winegar rounds out a team of professionals that represents the best in the business,” said Kean, the Senate minority leader. “There is no one more well suited to manage this race and help us send our New Jersey values to Washington. We are all very excited to welcome Theresa to the team.”
While at the state party, Winegar helped the GOP flip two State Senate seats: Christopher Brown (R-Ventnor) in the 2nd district in 2017 and Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland) in the 1st district in 2019.
She worked on Chris Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign and in the governor’s office before becoming regional field director of the Missouri Republican Party in 2010. She was the director of voter contact for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign in Iowa.
Winegar was the campaign manager for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) in 2014. Frelinghuysen defeated a conservative primary challenger by a 2-1 margin, and was re-elected with 63% of the vote against Democrat Mark Dunec.
She served as Frelinghuysen’s district director before joining the state party in 2016 as convention coordinator and political director. Winegar has been executive director since July 2017, where she worked for GOP State Chairman Doug Steinhardt to upgrade the party’s infrastructure and donor base.
“I am honored to join this campaign because I believe in Senator Tom Kean. When I think of strong leadership, I think of Tom Kean. I have seen firsthand the leader he has been for the Republican Party and the state of New Jersey,” Winegar said. “He is the best possible candidate to take on Tom Malinowski. I am excited to deliver a victory for Senator Kean, and my home district of NJ-7.”
Harrison Neely, who has worked for Kean since 2009, will serve as the campaign’s general consultant. Neely is a former executive director of Senate Republican Majority and worked for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) as political director in 2014 and campaign manager in 2016.
Kean has also brought on Dan Scharfenberger as political director, and Katie Castellano as his finance director. Other team members include Tim Cameron (digital strategist), Ali Richards (PAC fundraiser), and Brian Walsh (media). The venerable Ron Gravino is running compliance, as he has for most major New Jersey Republican campaigns for more than 25 years.
Kean reported raising almost $1 million for his congressional bid during the first two quarters of 2019.
He has won six races for the New Jersey Legislature by wide margins in a district that has become increasingly more Democratic and has been through a tough campaign as a U.S. Senate candidate in 2006. He served in the State Assembly from 2001 to 2003, when he won a State Senate seat. He’s been Minority Leader since 2008.
Kean faces former U.S. Senate staffer Rosemary Becchi, human resources executive Tom Phillips and businessman Rob Trugman in the Republican primary.
Malinowski defeated five-term Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in 2018 by 16,400 votes.
The GOP had held the 7th from 1957 until earlier this year.